i​mmunisation, vaccination

Why are Immunisations important for your baby? 

Immunisations are very important. They protect your baby against vaccine-preventable diseases that can lead to serious complications or even death.

Some immunisations require additional doses to be given later in life to maintain your child's immunity to the disease (e.g. diphtheria and tetanus). These additional doses are called booster doses.

Immunisations are safe for most babies.

Live vaccines like MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) and oral polio must be avoided if your baby has a weak immune system due to illness or medical treatment. Please consult your doctor should you have any concerns about your baby's immunisations. 


What are some side-effects of vaccinations?

What should parents do if their child has a reaction?

Vaccines are generally safe. They undergo years of testing for safety and effectiveness before they are approved and licensed.

The risk of serious complications from the vaccines is always much lower than the risk of complications if your child falls ill with one of the diseases. Also, allergy to vaccines is rare.

The vaccines against Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis, Polio and Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) may cause redness and swelling at the site of injection. This will resolve within a few days. Your child may have a fever on the day of the injection and the day after.

The MMR vaccine may cause a brief reaction that can begin from a few days to three weeks after vaccination. Your child may get mild cough, runny nose, skin rash, fever or swollen salivary glands. The fever may occur from the 5th to 10th day after the injection.  Your child will not be contagious. Studies have shown that there is no link between the MMR vaccine and autism.

The most common side effects associated with Pneumococcal vaccine are redness and swelling at the injection site, fever and tiredness. 

BCG vaccination may cause a small boil to develop 2-3 weeks later at the site of injection. It will resolve 6-8 weeks later. If the boil bursts, you may cover it with a piece of gauze.


Which immunisations should my baby/child take?

Please refer to the National Childhood Immunisation Schedule (NCIS) for the vaccinations recommended for children 0-17 years old.

These national recommendations for childhood vaccinations are regularly reviewed and updated by Ministry of Health (MOH) in consultation with ECI (Expert Committee on Immunisation).

Under the Infectious Diseases Act (IDA), it is compulsory for parents and guardians to have their child/ward vaccinated against measles and diphtheria. 

Pic1.jpg


How do I pay for my baby's vaccinations? (Enhanced Subsidies for Nationally Recommended Vaccinations)

Full subsidies are provided to all eligible Singaporean children for specific brands of vaccinations recommended under NCIS at both polyclinics and CHAS GP clinics.

Eligible Permanent Residents (PRs) can receive subsidies for vaccinations recommended under NCIS at polyclinics. Please contact your preferred polyclinic directly for the charges.

Vaccination subsidy will only be extended when brands of vaccines listed under the Subsidised Vaccine List (SVL) are used for the NCIS vaccinations. The SVL can be found on the MOH website - Subsidised Vaccine List. Use of non-SVL vaccines will not be subsidised.

 

National Childhood Immunisation Schedule

The National Childhood Immunisation Schedule comprises vaccinations that protect against the following diseases:   

1. Tuberculosis (TB)

TB usually attacks the lungs, but it can also infect any other part of the body. If it is not properly treated, it can be fatal. TB spreads through the air.

2. Hepatitis B

This is a serious viral liver infection that spreads by direct contact with blood or bodily fluids of a carrier. The first dose of the Hepatitis B vaccine is usually given to your baby soon after birth.

3. Diphtheria

This is a bacterial infection that affects the throat mainly. In more serious cases, it can affect the heart and nerves and block the breathing passage. Diphtheria is very contagious and is potentially life threatening.

4. Tetanus

Also known as lockjaw, this affects the body's muscles and nerves. Without treatment, tetanus can be fatal.

5. Pertussis (Whooping cough)

This is very contagious and can cause serious illness in infants and children. It can lead to pneumonia (lung infection) and brain damage.

6. Poliomyelitis (Polio)

Often called Polio, this can lead to paralysed and deformed arms or legs.

7. Haemophilus Influenzae Type B (Hib)

Hib is a bacterium that causes meningitis and acute respiratory infections, mainly in infants and children under five years of age. It is frequently associated with severe complications of the brain and spinal cord. It is also a major cause of pneumonia in children. The bacterium is spread from person to person by respiratory droplets during coughing or sneezing.

8. Measles

A highly contagious viral infection that affects the body's breathing system. It usually starts with high fever and causes a rash. Lung infection, deafness and brain damage can occur. It is spread through coughing and sneezing and through touching contaminated surfaces. Most people recover completely but some people can get very ill especially if complications arise.

9. Mumps

A common childhood viral infection that causes the glands that produce saliva (on both sides of the jaw) to swell. It is contagious 1- 2 days before symptoms appear until 1 -2 days after they disappear. Serious complications include brain infection, deafness and sterility.

10. Rubella

Also known as German measles, this is usually mild when it affects children. A rash may appear. Your child should stay at home while sick or up to a week after the rash disappears. Expectant women if affected during early pregnancy may give birth to deaf, blind or mentally retarded babies.

11. Pneumococcal infection

This disease is common in children under 2 years and the elderly. It can lead to chest, ear and brain infections (which can be potentially fatal).

12. Chickenpox (Varicella)

Usually causes fever and a rash that turns into itchy, fluid-filled blisters that will eventually form scabs. It may be more serious in adults or people with weakened immunity. 

13. Influenza (Flu)

Symptoms include fever, runny nose, sore throat, cough and muscle aches. It can lead to serious complications like ear infection, lung infection, inflammation of heart muscle(myocarditis) and multi-organ failure especially in people with low immunity like young children, elderly or people with weakened immune systems.

14. Human Papillomavirus

The major cause of cervical cancer is a virus called the human papillomavirus. The Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) can infect the cervix, causing the cells to change. In most of the infection cases, the virus clears by itself and the cells return to normal. However, in some cases, the infection can persist and cause the cells to grow in an abnormal way, developing into cervical cancer.

Combination vaccines*

These childhood vaccine formulations combine vaccines against 4,5 or 6 diseases into a single injection. These combination vaccines have been proven to be safe and effective.

Examples of combination vaccinations are listed below:

  • The 5-in-1 injection combines vaccines against Diphtheria/Pertussis/Tetanus (DPT), Polio and Haemophilus Influenzae type B (Hib) in 1 injection.
  • The 6-in-1 injection combines vaccines against Diphtheria/Pertussis/Tetanus (DPT), Polio, Haemophilus Influenzae type B (Hib) and Hepatitis B in 1 injection.  
  • The MMRV vaccine combines vaccines against four common childhood diseases, Measles, Mumps, Rubella and Varicella (also known as chickenpox).

 Other vaccines

Currently, there are vaccines available which can protect your child against Rotavirus, Hepatitis A and Meningococcus. Please discuss with your doctor if you are keen to consider these vaccinations for your child.

Do bring along your baby's Health Booklet during the clinic visit for your doctor to record any immunisation administered to your child.

For more information regarding immunisations, visit the National Immunisation Registry website.