What are the mandatory vaccinations required by law in Singapore?
In Singapore, there are two vaccines that are mandatory by law. These are Diphtheria and Measles.
A child should receive three doses of the Diphtheria vaccine before 1 year of age. The first booster dose is given at 18 months of age followed by a top-up booster above the age of 11 years to maintain continued protection against diphtheria.
The first Measles vaccine is given at 12 months of age and second booster at age 15-18 months.
In addition to the mandatory vaccines, there are other vaccinations that a child needs to register in primary school in Singapore. These vaccines include BCG, pertussis, tetanus, poliomyelitis, mumps, rubella and hepatitis B.
What other vaccinations should parents consider and why? (flu, HPV, meningitis, pneumococcus, etc)
Infants are also recommended to get pneumococcal vaccines which prevents infections from bacteria called Streptococcus pneumonia that may cause severe infection such as pneumonia, meningitis and sepsis.
Another vaccine that is recommended for infants is rotavirus. Rotavirus is a virus that causes gastroenteritis (vomiting and diarrhea). Infants are more prone to develop dehydration from gastroenteritis than adults which is why it is recommended for infants.
Influenza vaccine is another vaccine we recommend yearly. Infants 6 month or older may receive their first influenza vaccine. Children younger than 9 years of age will need two doses of influenza vaccines if they are receiving the influenza vaccines for the first time.
Why is it so critical to keep up to date with immunisations?
Parents want to do everything possible to make sure their children are healthy and protected from preventable diseases. Vaccination is the best way to do that. Vaccination protects children from serious illness and complications of vaccine-preventable diseases which can include amputation of an arm or leg, paralysis of limbs, hearing loss, convulsions, brain damage, and death. Outbreaks of preventable diseases occur when many parents decide not to vaccinate their children. If children aren’t vaccinated, they can spread disease to other children who are too young to be vaccinated or to people with weakened immune systems, such as transplant recipients and people with cancer. This could result in long-term complications and even death for these vulnerable people.
Do you IMC follow the UK schedule? (or American?)
At IMC, we follow the Singapore vaccination schedule along with the parents preferred country’s schedule. We can accommodate all other countries vaccination schedules which are usually pretty similar to the Singapore schedule with minor differences.
Are there any specific vaccinations that children in Singapore should get (for travelling the region, or living in this country specifically)?
Two vaccines that are normally recommended for those who are going to travel around the Southeast Asian countries are hepatitis A and typhoid vaccines. Hepatitis A is an infectious disease of the liver caused by the hepatitis A virus. It is usually spread by eating contaminated food or drinking water.
Typhoid vaccine is a vaccine to protect against Salmonella typhi. Salmonella can lead to a high fever, diarrhea, and vomiting. Salmonella is spread by eating or drinking food or water contaminated with the feces of an infected person.
Rabies vaccination is also recommended for international travelers who are likely to come in contact with animals in parts of the world where rabies is common. Three doses of pre-exposure rabies vaccines are recommended. Make sure to start the first dose of Rabies vaccine 1 month prior to travel to ensure that you have completed the three doses prior to your travel.
Another vaccination to be considered when travelling in Asia is Japanese encephalitis (JE). JE is a disease transmitted through mosquitoes that may cause swelling around the brain. You are at higher risk if you are traveling to rural areas (especially near rice paddies), will be outside frequently, or will be traveling for a long period of time.
Is there anything else we should know about childhood vaccinations? Any misconceptions?
The biggest misconception about vaccination is that vaccines cause autism. The widespread fear that vaccines increase risk of autism originated with a 1997 study published by Andrew Wakefield, a British surgeon. The article was published in The Lancet, a prestigious medical journal, suggesting that the measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine was increasing autism in British children.
The paper has since been completely discredited due to serious procedural errors, undisclosed financial conflicts of interest, and ethical violations. Andrew Wakefield lost his medical license and the paper was retracted from The Lancet.
What would you say to parents who don’t believe in vaccinating their children?
The fact is vaccines save lives and protect against the spread of disease. If you decide not to immunize, you’re not only putting your child at risk to catch a disease that is dangerous or deadly but also putting others in contact with your child at risk. Getting vaccinated is much better than getting the disease.
Dr Bernadeta Wibisono is a US trained paediatric Doctor based in IMC Paediatric.
For an appointments please call: T 6887 4440 or click here: https://www.imc-healthcare.com/appointments/