MMA says it supports vaccine injury financial scheme that is being implemented in Singapore. (AP pic)

PETALING JAYA: While there has been much discussion on the safety and possible side-effects of the Covid-19 vaccines, the Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) says a vaccine injury financial assistance programme may give “some comfort” to Malaysians who opt to take it.

Citing the scheme that will be implemented by Singapore, MMA president Dr Subramaniam Muniandy said while it did not expect any serious consequences from the vaccination in the short term, Malaysia should consider such a scheme to prepare for any eventuality.

Singapore Health Minister Gan Kim Yong told parliament on Monday that this was to support those who suffer any “serious adverse event” that is assessed to be related to Covid-19 vaccines administered in the republic.

“While we expect few people will need this, the programme will give peace of mind to those who are vaccinated,” the Straits Times quoted him as saying. He said more details will be released in due course.

MMA president Dr Subramaniam Muniandy.

Subramaniam said while Malaysians had very little reason to fear any serious side effects, it will be good to be proactive and be ready in case anyone faces complications.

He said it would definitely encourage more to get vaccinated although there have been no indications of any major issues so far.

“The initial side effects like slight swelling at the injected spot and fever are common in any inoculation but they will go away in a day or two. I am confident there won’t be any major setback.

“However, most of the people’s concerns are long-term effects and this may discourage them from being vaccinated. So, setting up a scheme may not be a bad idea,” he told FMT.

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The Singapore health minister noted the many concerns raised by several members of parliament, and gave an assurance as to the safety and efficacy of the vaccine, noting the stringent approval process.

“The speed achieved is the result of a strong and concerted global response to a major pandemic, rather than a compromise of safety standards,” he was quoted as saying by the Singapore daily.

However, as with all medications and established vaccines, there will be a small risk of very rare but serious adverse events that may occur after vaccination, including allergic reactions, the minister added.

Singapore started its Covid-19 vaccination programme on Dec 30 last year, making the city-state among the first Asian countries to do so.

It expects to have enough vaccine doses for all 5.7 million people by the third quarter of 2021.

Gan said although the current low number of community cases and the local situation was under control, he advised Singapore residents not be complacent or wait till an outbreak and then rush to be vaccinated.

The minister said those vaccinated will also have their records updated in the National Immunisation Registry and they can check their vaccination status online.

According to Subramaniam, the United States had a National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VCIP), which was an alternative to the traditional legal system for resolving vaccine injury petitions.

He said this was created in the 1980s, after there were many legal actions against vaccine companies and healthcare providers when those inoculated developed complications.

Under the VCIP, anyone injured or the legal guardians or next of kin of those who died as a result of vaccination can file a petition.

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