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16 Apr 2023

16th Apr 2023

The State Coroner has ruled on 14 April 2023 that the death of a 43-year-old Philippines national, who passed away four days after COVID-19 vaccination, was a medical misadventure. The cause of death was certified as myocarditis. The State Coroner found that on the balance of probabilities, it was likely to be related to COVID-19 vaccination.

2. She received her booster dose of Pfizer-BioNTech/Comirnaty COVID-19 vaccine on 9 December 2021, and was hospitalised for shortness of breath and chest tightness the next day. She passed away on 13 December 2021.

3. The deceased’s next-of-kin had submitted an application under the Vaccine Injury Financial Assistance Programme (VIFAP) in January 2023, which has been reviewed by the independent clinical panel. The panel assessed that her demise was probably related to COVID-19 vaccination and a one-time financial assistance of $225,000 had been extended to her family in the Philippines.

4. To date, more than 17 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Singapore through the National Vaccination Programme. This is the second death related to COVID-19 vaccination locally.

5. According to the latest vaccine safety update by the Health Sciences Authority (HSA), the incidence of myocarditis remains rare with reporting rates of 0.1 per 100,000 doses (or 0.0001%) for the bivalent vaccines; and 1.1 per 100,000 doses (or 0.0011%) for the primary vaccination series of the monovalent vaccines.

6. Available data suggests that the majority of cases of myocarditis following vaccination are generally mild and respond to treatment. COVID-19 infection is also known to be associated with myocarditis, several times higher than the incidence after vaccination.

7. As a precautionary measure, since September 2021, vaccinated persons are advised to avoid strenuous physical activity or exercise for two weeks after vaccination to mitigate the potential risk of myocarditis. Persons with chest discomfort, abnormal heartbeats or any other symptoms that arise after vaccination, should seek medical attention promptly. This will enable early diagnosis and appropriate medical management of any rare severe adverse events that may occur after vaccination.

8. The Ministry of Health, the Expert Committee on COVID-19 Vaccination and HSA will continue to monitor vaccine-related serious adverse events closely.