Learn about Singapore childhood vaccination under the National Immunisation Programme

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 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:

Children with low immunity are advised to get the flu vaccine

1. Tuberculosis (TB)

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.

Related: Very Low Risk Of Getting TB Via Casual Contact

2. Hepatitis B

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.

Related: What Is Hepatitis B?

3. Diphtheria

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.

Related: Vaccination For Your Baby

4. Tetanus

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.

Related: Get Vaccinated

5. Pertussis (Whooping Cough)

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.

Related: Whooping Cough

6. Poliomyelitis (Polio)

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.

Related: What All Parents Need To Know About Polio

7. Measles

mother bringing her baby to the doctor for 3rd dose of a vaccine

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.

Related: MOH Urges Vaccination as Measles Cases Spike

8. Mumps

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.

Related: Vaccinate Against Mumps

9. Rubella

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.

Related: How Dangerous Is Rubella?

10. Pneumococcal Infection

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.

Related: Immunisation: Inject To Protect

11. Human Papillomavirus

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.

Related: What Every Woman Needs To Know About HPV Immunisation

12. Influenza

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.

Singapore Childhood Vaccination

The School Health Service (SHS) provides immunisation to school children, according to the National Childhood Immunisation Programme. Please refer to the immunisation schedule below.

Disease Type of Vaccine Primary Course Booster
TuberculosisBCGAt birth -
Hepatitis BHepatitis BAt birth
- 1st dose
1 month
- 2nd dose
5 to 6 months
- 3rd dose
-
PneumococcalPCV3 months
- 1st dose
5 months
- 2nd dose
1 to 2 years
Diphtheria*, Pertussis & TetanusDTaP/DT/Tdap3 months
- 1st dose
4 months
- 2nd dose
5 months
- 3rd dose

18 months
- 1st booster

10-11 years
- 2nd booster
PoliovirusIPV/OPV3 months
- 1st dose
4 months
- 2nd dose
5 months
- 3rd dose

18 months
- 1st booster

10-11 years
- 2nd booster&
Haemophilus influenzae type bHib3 months
- 1st dose
4 months
- 2nd dose
5 months
- 3rd dose
18 months
- 1st booster
Measles*, Mumps & RubellaMMR12 months
- 1st dose
15-18 months
- 2nd dose
 

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.

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Sources:
The New Art and Science of Pregnancy and Childbirth 2008, World Scientific
Healthy Start for your Pregnancy 2012, Health Promotion Board Singapore