Singapore Covid Vaccine NFCS
Singapore created a no fault compensation for covid-19 vaccines announced on 28 January 2021, but it is unclear when it started to make payments.
This scheme is a non-statutory scheme.
It is administered by the Ministry of Health, who are a government department.
The funding for the scheme comes from central government.
This NFCS covers vaccines administered under the national vaccination programme. It includes vaccines approved for emergency use and standard approvals.
Privately administered vaccines are not covered.
This NFCS covers both temporary and permanent injuries.
Under this NFCS only eligible injuries are covered. Eligible injuries are those which cause a ‘serious side effect. This is defined as ‘A serious side effect is one that required inpatient hospitalisation, or caused permanent severe disability or was fatal.’
Charges for making a claim
There is no charge for making a claim under this scheme. A doctor’s assessment of causality between the vaccination and the adverse event is required, but it is clear on the application form that the doctor is not permitted to charge for completing this form.
To be eligible under the scheme the vaccine recipient must be or have been a Singapore Citizen, a Permanent Resident or a long-term pass holders who have received their vaccine under the national vaccination program.
Under this scheme the following categories of individuals are permitted to make a claim.
- Live vaccine recipient/their authorised representative
- The estate/representative of a deceased vaccine recipient
The Scheme websites specifies that for persons under the age of 21 the application must be submitted by a parent or legal guardian. For persons under a disability or deceased the application may be submitted by a next-of-kin, donee, deputy, or administrator on the vaccinated person’s behalf. It appears that there are some circumstances in which a legal representative may be permitted to make a claim under this NFCS There is nothing in the scheme rules to indicate that funding for legal representation is provided by the scheme.
This scheme pays the following
|Live Vaccine Recipient||Dependants of Vaccine Recipient||Estate of Deceased Vaccine Recipient|
Compensation payments are for general categories and are not broken down into economic and non-economic losses.
|No Compensation is provided specifically for dependants||Compensation payments are for general categories and are not broken down into economic and non-economic losses.|
Payments consist of a lump sum payment.
Payments are fixed sum dependent upon the severity of the side effect, as set out below.
|Side Effect||Lump Sum Payment Value|
|Death or severe disability||$225,000|
|inpatient care with high dependence or intensive care with subsequent recovery||$10,000|
|inpatient treatment with hospitalisation, with subsequent recovery (excluding visits to A&E that do not require subsequent inpatient admission||$2,000|
Payments will be made at the highest quantum available and are not cumulative, eg there will be one pay out of $225,000 for death or serious injury regardless of hospital stay or treatment.
The Scheme website is clear that these payments are ex gratia and are not meant to reimburse medical costs, which can be met either from private insurance or from public healthcare financing schemes such as MediShield Life and other subsidies at public healthcare institutions.
Funeral expenses are/are not available under this NFCS.
Loss of earnings are not paid under this scheme.
Compensation under this scheme is a fixed sum amount depending on the severity of the adverse reaction. Compensation under this scheme is capped, with a top value of $225,000 for death or serious disability.
There is a minimum payment under this NFCS of $2,000 for eligible applicants.
Time limits for claims
The scheme does not set a time limit between vaccination and the adverse event occurring.
A claim under the scheme must be brought within three years from the date of occurrence of the adverse event.
Evaluating claims – standard of proof required
Assessment of claims is carried out by an independent panel appointed by the Ministry of Health. Decisions by the panel are on causation and the severity of the injury. The threshold used to determine causation is not clear.
Appeals and the right to litigate
The right to litigate is not affected by use of the scheme. The Scheme website is clear that payments from the NFCS are ex gratia financial assistance and are made without any admission of liability.
No information is available on an internal appeal process if an applicant is dissatisfied with the NFCS decision. If the claimant's medical condition has changed a request for reassessment can be made.
Useful information and links
The scheme provides data on claims (claim numbers, payments, claim processing timeframes, etc) in response to parliamentary and other questions, which have been reported in the press, see News Reports below.
Abdullah, Zhjaki ‘413 people get Covid-19 vaccine injury payouts, over $1.8m paid or offered to applicants:MOH’ The Strait Times 27 January 2023 available at https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/health/413-people-qualify-for-covid-19-vaccine-injury-payouts-as-at-end-2022 (accessed 1 March 2023)
Hong Yi, Tay ‘296 patients qualified for Covid-19 vaccine injury payouts as at Dec 31:MOH’ The Strait Times 7 January 2023 available at https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/health/296-patients-qualified-for-vaccine-injury-payouts-as-of-dec-31-moh (accessed 1 March 2023)