Every child in Singapore is vaccinated from infectious diseases according to the National Childhood Immunisation Programme. Learn more about the diseases that are covered by the 12 essential vaccines.
By Dr Michelle LIM, Associate Consultant and Associate Professor Tan Thiam Chye, Visiting Consultant, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, KK Women's and Children's Hospital
The National Childhood Immunisation Programme is based on the recommendations from Singapore's National Vaccine Advisory Committee and the World Health Organization. Here are the 12 diseases that are covered and the risks they can cause if measures against them are not taken:
TB usually attacks the lungs, but it can also infect any other part of the body. It spreads from person to person through the air and one can become very sick if not treated promptly. The disease can even be fatal.
This serious viral liver infection spreads by direct contact with blood or bodily fluids of a carrier. Your baby will receive the first dose of this vaccine soon after birth. There are three doses in total to complete the immunisation process.
Although it mostly affects the throat, this bacterial infection can also affect the heart and nerves, which can lead to abnormal heart rhythms and paralysis respectively. It can also cause kidney problems, bleeding problems and potentially impair breathing. Diphtheria is contagious and can be fatal.
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Also known as lockjaw, this affects the body's muscles and nerves and causes muscle spasms. Sometimes, the spasms affect muscles that help with breathing, which leads to breathing problems and can be fatal. The bacteria that cause this condition generally enter through a break in the skin such as a cut or puncture wound by a contaminated object.
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This is highly contagious and can cause a serious illness, especially in newborns and infants, who are more likely to develop complications such as lung infections seizures and even fatalities.
This infection is usually spread by food or water containing infected human faeces or from infected saliva. In certain cases, the infection can lead to paralysed and deformed arms or legs.
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This is a highly contagious airborne infection caused by the measles virus. It starts with high fever and causes a rash. In serious cases, it can lead to lung infections, deafness, blindness and brain damage.
This common childhood viral infection causes the glands that produce saliva (on both sides of the jaw) to swell. It's contagious for up to two days before symptoms appear until two days after they disappear and spreads by respiratory droplets or direct contact with an infected person. Complications include infections in the brain, deafness and infertility in males.
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Also known as German measles, this is usually mild when it affects children. This disease is especially serious for expectant women — if infected during early pregnancy, the infection may lead to serious abnormalities in the baby such as deafness, blindness or mental issues.
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This disease is common in children under two years old and the elderly. It can lead to chest, ear and brain infections that can be potentially fatal.
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The human papillomavirus (HPV) is the major cause of cervical cancer. In most cases, the virus is cleared by one's own immune system and the cells in the cervix return to normal. In some cases, the infection can persist and cause the cells to turn pre-cancerous and eventually cancerous in the form of cervical cancer.
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Commonly known as the flu, this is a contagious disease that can affect anyone. It attacks the respiratory tract in humans (nose, throat, and lungs), and causes inflammation of the mucous membranes. This infection is more likely to result in complications such as lung infections in high risk groups such as children, the elderly, people with chronic illnesses, people who are immunocompromised as well as expectant mothers.
The School Health Service (SHS) provides immunisation to school children, according to the National Childhood Immunisation Programme. Please refer to the childhood immunisation schedule below.
Babies who turn 12 months of age on or after 1st December 2011 should receive 2 doses of MMR vaccine as per above schedule. *Diphtheria and measles vaccinations are COMPULSORY by law.
here for more information on vaccine-preventable diseases, subsidies available and frequently asked questions.
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Sources:The New Art and Science of Pregnancy and Childbirth 2008, World ScientificHealthy Start for your Pregnancy 2012, Health Promotion Board Singapore
This article was last reviewed on
22 Nov 2023
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