Malaysia Covid Vaccine NFCS
Malaysia is double covered. Malaysia created a national no fault scheme for Covid-19 vaccines on 21 March 2022, effective immediately. Malaysia is also a member of the UNICEF NFCS.
The National scheme is a non-statutory scheme.
It is administered by the Malaysian Ministry of Health and the National Disaster Management Agency, who are a government department and a public body respectively.
The funding for the scheme comes from central government.
This NFCS covers vaccines received under the National COVID-19 Immunization Program (PICK). PICK includes vaccines approved for emergency use and standard approvals. Malaysia has purchased some vaccines through the COVAX facility, which have been administered as part of PICK. Individuals who been vaccinated under PICK with a vaccine purchased from COVAX appear to be covered by both the national NFCS and the UNICEF NFCS. The UNICEF NFCS Protocol states:
11(d): ‘the Claimant fully and finally waives the right to seek and/or obtain compensation in respect of the Injury in question from or through any other compensation or insurance programme or through any other means.’
This prevents double recovery from the UNICEF and National NFCS.
This NFCS covers both temporary and permanent injuries. Financial assistance is only available for serious side effects. The Special Pharmacovigilance Committee for the COVID-19 evaluate whether an Vaccine Adverse Events Following Immunisation (AEFI) should be categorized as ‘serious’ in an evaluation report.
Charges for making a claim
There is no upfront charge for making a claim under this scheme, but a claim must be lodged by a doctor.
The Scheme Rules state that financial assistance is only available to Malaysian citizens who have been vaccinated under the PICK program. Contemporaneous press reports indicate that permanent residents and long-term pass-holders vaccinated under the PICK program are also eligible, but it is unclear if this is the case or not.
The Scheme Rules do not specify which categories of individuals are permitted to make a claim. The application form clearly allows a claim to be submitted by someone other than the patient.
It is unclear whether the claimant is allowed to nominate a legal representative to make their claim. There is nothing in the scheme rules to indicate that funding for legal representation is provided by the scheme.
Under this scheme payments are for general categories and are not broken down into economic and non-economic losses.
Payments consist of a lump sum payment.
Funeral expenses are not available under this NFCS.
Loss of earnings are not paid/paid under this scheme.
Payments under this scheme are calculated on an individual basis. The amount paid is determined based on certification by the Medical Technical Committee and decided by the Master Committee for Special Financial Assistance on the Harmful Effects of the COVID-19 Vaccine. Payments under this scheme are capped. The amount of Special Financial Assistance for the Harmful Effects of the COVID-19 Vaccine that has been set is as follows:
(i) not exceeding RM50,000 if there is a serious adverse effect on the recipient of the COVID-19 vaccine that requires prolonged treatment in hospital; and
(ii) not exceeding RM500,000 in the event of permanent disability or death due to the COVID-19 vaccine
There is no minimum claim value under this NFCS.
Time limits for claims
An injury will only be eligible under this NFCS if it occurs within three months of the vaccination.
A claim under the scheme must be brought within one year from the start of the adverse event.
Evaluating claims – standard of proof required
The following schematic sets out the process for evaluating claims. It is not clear from the scheme rules what thresholds are used. The Special Pharmacovigilance Committee (JFK) investigate the adverse event, the Medical Technical Committee then determine if a case is related to the vaccine based on the JFK report and make a recommendation for quantum. The Master Committee then determine the quantum and approve the payment. It is not clear what standards any of these committees use.
Appeals and the right to litigate
The right to litigate is not affected by use of the scheme - A claimant has a free choice to use the scheme or to litigate. The Scheme rules are clear that payment from the scheme are ex gratia and are made without any admission of liability on behalf of the Government; scheme payments are consistently described as financial assistance rather than compensation.
No information is available on an appeal process. In 1.3 of the Scheme rules it states that the decision of the Master Committee of Special Financial Assistance for the Harmful Effects of the COVID-19 Vaccine related to both eligibility and to payment value is final.
Useful information and links
The scheme does not appear to publish any data on claims.