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Vaccination protects you against diseases. It is an important part of health care as it helps to prevent infection or reduce the severity of infections.
Vaccinations aren’t just for children, they are as important for adults too. There are different vaccines that are recommended for adults, depending on our age, life stage (e.g. an expectant mother), susceptibility, and medical conditions.
If you don’t know what vaccine to get, don’t fret. The National Adult Immunisation Schedule (NAIS) provides comprehensive vaccination recommendations to help you make an informed decision.
Read on for four reasons why you should get vaccinated, as well as the seven types of vaccines recommended in the NAIS and how often to get them.
As responsible adults, we take care of our health by eating right and exercising often. It is also just as important for us to get the recommended vaccines that protect us from different diseases and conditions.
Vaccinations recommended in the NAIS offer protection against infectious diseases such as the influenza (flu), pneumococcal disease, which can cause pneumonia, and human papillomavirus (HPV), which can lead to cervical cancer.
While most healthy adults tend to recover from the flu, the same illness can be life-threatening to the elderly, those who have co-morbidity (concurrent medical conditions) or are immunocompromised (people with weakened immune systems). The influenza and pneumococcal vaccines in particular are especially beneficial to people aged 65 and above, or any adult with weakened immune system or certain medical conditions.
Vaccines aren’t only for your protection. They also protect the people closest to you, especially those who are at higher risk of developing complications from certain diseases (e.g. flu or pneumonia), such as young children and the elderly.
For example, pertussis, or whooping cough, can be deadly in babies. But they don’t begin vaccination to start building immunity until they are three months old. Getting vaccinated against pertussis during pregnancy will help protect the baby by passing the mother’s antibodies to the baby before birth.
Older adults are also more likely to develop complications should they catch an infectious disease — one reason is that their immune system doesn’t work as well as it used to. The elderly are more likely to develop pneumonia as a result of flu, a serious lung infection that can be life-threatening.
If you have an elderly member in the family, tell them the importance of getting vaccinated and encourage them to protect themselves and get vaccinated as well.
Protecting yourself against these infectious diseases by getting vaccinated also provides protection to your loved ones by reducing their exposure to these infectious diseases.
To help pay for adult vaccines recommended for you under NAIS, you can use up to $500 from your MediSave account per year.
If you need the vaccines but are unable to pay for it, you can also approach medical social workers at polyclinics and public healthcare institutions to explore financial assistance.
As adults, we are all busy with our work, family and personal commitments; it’s understandable that sometimes taking preventative measures for our health takes a backseat. Fortunately, getting vaccinated is easy!
You will be able to get vaccinated at a GP clinic or polyclinic near you. Do check with your healthcare provider on the availability of the vaccines and MediSave use before heading down!
Based on the recommendations of the National Expert Committee on Immunisation, the NAIS recommends seven vaccinations for various adult groups to protect against 11 vaccine-preventable diseases.
The vaccinations are:
Here’s a handy infographic on who should get which vaccinations, and how often to get them.
You should not get vaccinated if you have had a severe allergic reaction after a previous vaccination or have allergies to specific vaccine components.
And if you are severely immunocompromised or are pregnant, you should not receive live vaccines such as the MMR or varicella vaccines.
All Singaporean adults who fall under the target groups are encouraged to take up the recommended vaccinations under the NAIS. Getting immunised against preventable diseases is one of the best decisions you can make to protect your health.
Prevention is better than cure, so talk to your doctor who will be able to advise you on your suitability for any of the recommended vaccines. Don’t forget to share this information with your other family members too!
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This article was last reviewed on
Tuesday, May 28, 2019
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Ministry of Health Singapore. All Rights Reserved.