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.

We all know by now that COVID-19 vaccines have an important role to play in preventing severe illness and death. But you may not be as familiar with some of the other vaccines recommended for adults. If you don't know what vaccine to get, don't fret. The National Adult Immunisation Schedule (NAIS) provides vaccination recommendations to help you make an informed decision on the vaccines you need.

Read on for four reasons why you should get vaccinated, as well as the common vaccines recommended in the NAIS. The NAIS includes the age guideline for when you need to get the different vaccines.

Four Reasons to Get Vaccinated

1. Protect yourself

As responsible adults, we take care of our health by eating right and exercising often. It is just as important for us to get the recommended vaccines that protect us from different diseases and conditions.

Vaccinations for adults offer protection against common infectious diseases including influenza (flu), pneumococcal disease which can cause pneumonia (a serious bacterial infection of the lungs), Covid-19, 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, pneumococcal vaccines in particular are especially beneficial to people aged 65 and above, or any adult with weakened immune system or certain medical conditions. HPV vaccinations are recommended for the prevention of cervical cancer and all adult females to receive it before age of 26 years old for the most effective protection. COVID-19 vaccinations are recommended for all adults. Vaccines are very effective in reducing the chance of becoming infected and reducing the severity of illness if you do become infected.

For protection against pneumococcal disease, you only require 2 shots after the age of 65 for lifelong protection. For protection against the flu, you will require a shot every year during the flu season.

2. Protect your family and friends

Vaccines aren't only for your protection. By reducing your chance of becoming infected, they also protect the people closest to you, especially those who are at higher risk of developing complications from certain diseases (e.g. flu, pneumonia or COVID-19), such as young children and the elderly.

For example, pertussis, or whooping cough, can be deadly in babies. But they are not eligible for vaccines which help build immunity until they are two 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. Seniors aged 65 and older are more likely to develop pneumonia as a result of a flu virus or a pneumococcal bacterial infection. Pneumonia caused by both flu and pneumococcal can cause a serious lung infection that can be life-threatening or take weeks to recover.

If you have a loved one who is 65 or older, share the importance of getting vaccinated against flu and pneumococcal disease with them.

If you live with seniors over the age of 65, taking your yearly flu shot will provide protection for them too because it decreases your chance of becoming infected.

3. Vaccines are subsidised and Medisave claimable

To help pay for adult vaccines recommended under NAIS, you can use up to $500/$700 from your MediSave account per year. Examples of those who are eligible for the flu and pneumococcal vaccinations subsidies are those aged 65 years old and above and adults with specific medical conditions. Click here for more information on subsidies available, other vaccine-preventable diseases and frequently asked questions.

If you need the vaccines but need financial help you can also approach medical social workers at polyclinics and public healthcare institutions.

4. It’s convenient

As adults, we are all busy with our work, family and personal commitments. It's understandable that taking preventive measures for our health might not be a priority. Fortunately, getting vaccinated is easy in Singapore!

The most convenient location for most people to get a vaccine is at a neighbourhood CHAS GP clinic. You can get vaccinated by walking into any CHAS GP clinic. For eligible Singaporeans, present your CHAS card to get the subsidised rate. (See the CHAS GP vaccination price fee cap here). Both Singaporeans and PRs can use MediSave to further offset the cost of vaccinations at CHAS GP clinics. If you prefer to get vaccinated during your next visit to a polyclinic, you can book online for the vaccination service. Do check with your preferred polyclinic to determine your eligibility for subsidises and the subsidised rates as these are specific to your financial situation.

Vaccines to Protect You Against 11 Diseases

Based on the recommendations of the National Expert Committee on Immunisation, the NAIS recommends vaccinations for various adult groups to protect against 11 vaccine-preventable diseases.

The vaccinations are:

  • Influenza;
  • Pneumococcal (PCV13/PPSV23);
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV2/HPV4);
  • Tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (Tdap);
  • Measles, mumps and rubella (MMR);
  • Hepatitis B;
  • Varicella (chicken pox)
Other vaccinations that you should consider getting are:
  • Meningococcal Vaccine
  • Hepatitis A
  • Shingles (Herpes Zoster) Vaccine
  • Yellow Fever Vaccine
  • Rabies Vaccine
  • Japanese Encephalitis Vaccine
  • Typhoid Vaccine
  • COVID-19

Which Vaccine Should You Get?

Here's a handy infographic on what vaccines you should get, and how often to get them.

infographic with information on vaccines under the National Adult Immunisation Schedule

Who Should Not Get Vaccinated

You should not get vaccinated if you have had a severe allergic reaction after a previous vaccination or have allergies to specific vaccine components. Talk to your doctor about your specific medical history to understand the best option for protecting yourself.

Vaccinate, Don’t Procrastinate!

All adults are encouraged to take the recommended vaccinations recommended for their age group in the NAIS. Getting vaccinated against preventable diseases is one of the best decisions you can make to protect your health.

Prevent what's preventable! Talk to your doctor if you have concerns. All GPs are  able to advise you on your suitability for any of the recommended vaccines. Don't forget to share this information with your family members too!

To learn more about travel vaccinations, click here.

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