Individuals who experience serious side effects from the Covid-19 vaccination will be able to claim compensation via a special protection plan by the government.
“The cabinet has agreed, during a special meeting last week, to provide a special protection scheme, which will be announced at a later date. This scheme is for protection and to give an ex-gratia payment to anyone with serious side effects linked directly to the vaccination,” said the Science, Technology, and Innovation Minister, Khairy Jamaluddin after receiving the first batch of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
That said, specific details regarding the plan – such as the amount of compensation that will be paid out as well as the types of side effects that are covered – have not been revealed as of yet. Khairy stated that the government will provide these specifics soon.
This Covid-19 special protection plan by the Malaysian government resembles Singapore’s vaccine injury financial assistance programme, which was announced at the end of January 2021. Singapore’s programme offers a one-time payout of up to SGD$10,000 for those who experience significant side effects and require hospital care, as well as a lump-sum of SGD$225,000 for those who suffer permanent disability or die because of the vaccination.
Following the arrival of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine over the weekend, Malaysia is expected to begin its vaccination programme on 24 February 2021 (Wednesday) – two days ahead of the original schedule. This decision was made after considering several factors with regard to the safety and distribution of the vaccine. As many as 271,802 frontliners will be among the first to be vaccinated come Wednesday.
Briefly, Malaysia’s vaccination programme will be carried out in three phases, starting with frontliners from now until April. Following that, the second phase will take place between April to August for those in high-risk groups. Finally, the third phase – which is from May 2021 to February 2022 – is for adults aged 18 and above.
Meanwhile, vaccines from other sources and pharmaceutical companies are currently caught at various stages of approval by the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA). For context, the Malaysian government had liaised with several pharmaceutical companies and facilities to obtain enough vaccine to cover more than 80% of its population. Aside from Pfizer-BioNTech, it also negotiated deals with AstraZeneca, Sinovac, and Sputnik V.