By Health Promotion Board in collaboration with Dr. Yvonne Ng, Senior Consultant, Department of Neonatology, National University Hospital.

The “flu shot” is the vaccine to protect against the influenza virus. Parents can choose to vaccinate their children against the flu after the child turns six months old.

The Health Promotion Board Singapore recommends that children aged between 6 months and 5 years old get vaccinated every year as flu viruses are constantly evolving.

Why Vaccinate?

The flu is not like the common cold, and can lead to more serious illnesses such as pneumonia, requiring hospitalisation.

Flu is spread directly from person to person; it can also be spread indirectly via contaminated surfaces like a door knob or the sharing of objects. While you can ensure a clean, hygienic environment within your own household, your child is still at risk of exposure outside the home environment.

Related: Essential Facts about Influenza

When to Vaccinate?

Singapore typically has two peak influenza periods every year: one around April to June and the other towards the end of the year. The flu vaccine takes about two weeks to take effect, so make sure to take your child for his flu jab before peak flu season starts! And if you plan on travelling, plan your child’s appointment accordingly.

Related: Start Your Year-end Vacation with a Flu Jab

Is It Safe?

All vaccines are assessed to be safe for use by the Health Sciences Authority, so don’t worry, mum and dad!

Related: All You Need to Know about Vaccinations

Are We Protected Against All Types of Flu?

The flu vaccine currently does not protect against bird flu or H7N9. Even if the entire family gets vaccinated, it is important to maintain good personal hygiene and habits.

Remember to:

  • Wash your child’s hands with soap and water, especially after going to the toilet.
  • Sneeze or cough into a tissue.
  • Avoid public places and use a surgical mask when you or your child is ill. Keep in mind that masks should be changed regularly every 8 hours.
  • Use a serving spoon when sharing food.

Consult with your doctor for more information on getting your child vaccinated.

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