doctor teaching his patient about her vaccinations

By Associate Professor TAN Thiam Chye Head & Senior Consultant, Dr Michelle LIM Associate Consultant, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital


Every child in Singapore is vaccinated according to our National Childhood Immunisation Schedule.

Immunisation is an important way to protect your child from certain diseases that can be avoided. The basis of vaccination is to make us immune to a disease before it has the chance to make us sick. Below are some answers to commonly asked questions about vaccines given to infants and toddlers.

Related: Information Is the Best Defence

How Do Vaccines Work?

Young girl asking about vaccinations

Vaccines are made from the same viruses (or parts of them) that cause disease. However, in vaccines, the viruses are altered in such a way that they cannot cause illnesses. The vaccines are introduced into our bodies usually via injection. Our immune system then reacts by making antibodies that give us immunity. While some vaccines give us immunity for life, others may require repeated booster shots for maintenance of immunity.

Related: How Healthy Are You?

When Is It Not Suitable for My Baby to Be Vaccinated?

baby getting a health check-up before getting immunised

Most babies are fit for immunisation but if your baby is currently having a high fever or has had a previous serious reaction to certain vaccines, you may need to consult a doctor for further advice. Avoid live vaccines like MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) or polio if your child’s immune system is weak as a result of illness or medical treatment.

Related: Immunisation Chart Based on Age

Are There Any Side Effects of Vaccines that I Should Be Aware Of?

It’s normal for your baby to cry a little after the injection but this should not last longer than a few seconds. Your baby might feel a little sore, and there may be a slight redness and even a small lump over the injection site, which should all clear within a few days. Your baby might also have a slight fever for a day or two after the injection. Some parents are concerned about the link between the MMR vaccines and autism, however, there is no scientific evidence to support this belief. Do consult a doctor if you have any concerns.

Related: Your Baby Needs Soft Skills Too

How Can I Pay for These Vaccinations?

You’ll be glad to know that you can use up to $400 from your Medisave account per calendar year for certain vaccinations. You can also use your child’s Baby Bonus for immunisation programmes at approved healthcare institutions. You can get more information at www.babybonus.msf.gov.sg.

Related: Safe Home for Your Baby

When Should My Baby Get Vaccinated?

Mother bringing her baby to the doctor for immunisation

National Childhood Immunisation Schedule, Singapore

Under the National Childhood Immunisation Programme (NCIP), these are the times when your baby will receive the vaccines.

Birth

Hep B (Hepatitis B) 1st dose and BCG (bacillus Calmette-Guerin)

1 Month

Hep B 2nd dose

3 Months

Diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis-polio (DTP-Polio) 1st dose

4 Months

DTP-polio 2nd dose

5 Months

DTP-polio 3rd dose

6 Months

Hep B 3rd dose

12–24 Months

MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) 1st dose

18 Months

DTP-polio 1st booster

More information on Childhood Immunisation:

The latest Child Vaccination Chart is available from the National Immunisation Registry. The Registry collects and maintains immunisation records of children and adults residing in Singapore. To view your child's immunisation records, log into HealthHub with your Singpass.

The immunisation programme protects children from 12 diseases such as tuberculosis (TB), Hepatitis B and Diphtheria. Learn all about these vaccines in 12 Essential Childhood Vaccinations.

Today, vaccines are combined into a single injection. These 5-in-1 or 6-in-1 vaccines means fewer injections for children. To learn more about these, check out Immunisations for Your Baby.

Download the HealthHub app on Google Play or Apple Store to access more health and wellness advice at your fingertips.


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References

  1. Tan, T., Tan, K., Tan, H., & Tee, J. C. (2008). The New Art and Science of Pregnancy and Childbirth.. New Jersey: World Scientific.

  2. Health Promotion Board. (2013). Healthy Start for your Pregnancy.. Singapore: Health Promotion Board.