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Expert’s Advice: Essential Vaccinations For Your Child In Singapore 2023

Chief Editor | Published on February 21, 2023

As parents, ensuring the health and well-being of our children is a top priority. One of the most effective ways to safeguard their health is through vaccinations.

In Singapore, the Ministry of Health (MOH) has a comprehensive vaccination schedule to protect children from infancy to adolescence. In this article, we will provide expert advice on the essential vaccinations for your child in Singapore in 2023.

The National Childhood Immunisation Schedule

National Childhood Immunisation Schedule

Reference: https://www.moh.gov.sg/resources-statistics/nationally-recommended-vaccines

As of 2023, the National Childhood Immunisation Schedule in Singapore recommends several key vaccines for children. These vaccines include:

  • Diphtheria, Tetanus, and Pertussis (DTaP): DTaP is a combination vaccine that protects against diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (whooping cough). Children typically receive multiple doses of DTaP during their early years, followed by booster shots as they grow older.
  • Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR): Guards against these highly contagious viral diseases. It is typically administered in two doses, the first at 12 to 15 months of age and the second at 4 to 6 years old.
  • Hepatitis B: Prevents liver infection caused by the hepatitis B virus. The Hepatitis B vaccine is typically administered to newborns in Singapore. It is important to complete the vaccination series, which usually consists of three doses, to ensure your child’s protection.
  • Polio: Shields against polio, a potentially crippling viral infection.
  • Hemophilus Influenzae Type B (Hib): Prevents serious infections, including pneumonia and meningitis. Multiple doses are usually administered during infancy.
  • Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine (PCV): Protects against pneumonia, ear infections, and other pneumococcal diseases. Multiple doses are typically given during infancy.
  • Rotavirus: Guards against severe diarrhoea and dehydration caused by rotavirus.
  • Varicella (Chickenpox): Prevents chickenpox, a highly contagious childhood disease. It is typically administered in two doses.

Do note that according to Singapore law, it is compulsory for all babies to be vaccinated against diphtheria and measles.

Additional Vaccinations

Besides NCIP’s recommended vaccines, you may wish to consider optional vaccinations to give your baby an extra protection boost against these diseases:

  • Influenza (Flu) Vaccine: Recommended annually, especially for children with underlying health conditions. While not mandatory, the influenza vaccine is strongly recommended for children. Influenza can lead to severe complications, and getting vaccinated annually is essential to protect your child from the flu.
  • Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Vaccine: HPV vaccine helps protect against certain types of cancer caused by the human papillomavirus. It is recommended for adolescents, usually between the ages of 9 and 14.
  • COVID-19 Vaccine:

Only COVID-19 vaccines that are assessed to be safe and efficacious are authorised by the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) for use in Singapore. Vaccination has recommended the (i) Moderna/Spikevax and Pfizer-BioNTech/Comirnaty vaccine for persons aged 6 months to 4 years, (ii) Pfizer-BioNTech/Comirnaty vaccine for persons aged 5 years to 11 years and, (iii) Pfizer-BioNTech/Comirnaty and Novavax/Nuvaxovid vaccine for persons aged 12 years to 17 years. Read more and be updated on MOH’s Guidelines for vaccinating your child on COVID-19 here.

While it is important for your baby to be immunised against these diseases, keep in mind that different vaccines work best at different ages. For example, the BCG vaccine, which protects your baby against tuberculosis, and the first dose of the hepatitis B vaccine are given at birth. However, the first dose of the combined measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine is not given until he/she is 12 months old. Additionally, all vaccines except for BCG are given in doses. As such, parents are recommended to follow the National Childhood Immunisation Schedule (NCIS).

Vaccination Schedules

It’s crucial to follow the recommended vaccination schedules provided by healthcare professionals. Typically, vaccinations start in infancy and continue through childhood and adolescence. Adhering to the schedule ensures optimal protection for your child.

What If My Baby Misses A Shot?

Expert's Advice: Essential Vaccinations For Your Child in Singapore

Don’t panic if your baby misses a shot, he/she can catch up on most vaccines without having to start the schedule all over again. However, it’s best to follow the schedule. Insert a reminder in your smartphone for each vaccination to remind you to make the appointment with your paediatrician. Remember that every month without vaccination is another month your baby is not fully protected against serious diseases that can be prevented.

Are Vaccinations Safe?

Yes, vaccination is generally safe for babies. As with all vaccinations, you may notice your baby experiencing certain side effects such as a mild fever, soreness around the injection site and fussiness. For example, after receiving the MMR vaccine, it is common for children to develop a fever. These side effects are mild and will usually go away after a few days.

While they are rare, serious reactions to certain vaccines could happen. In such cases, speak to your doctor immediately instead of trying to treat your baby yourself. Additionally, if you still have any safety concerns or your baby has certain allergies, consult your doctor before proceeding with any vaccination.

How Can I Comfort My Baby?

A study found that the 5 S’s — which stands for swaddling, swaddling, side/stomach position, shushing, swinging and sucking — can effectively reduce the pain score and crying time of babies during routine vaccinations.

How does it work?

First, hold your baby in a side or stomach position. After your baby receives the injection, swaddle your baby in a blanket and swing him/her gently while making a shushing sound. If your baby is still crying, place a pacifier in his/her mouth. Babies will react differently to various methods of comfort, so pick and choose the ones that work best.

Consulting with Healthcare Providers

Consulting with a paediatrician or healthcare provider is essential to ensure your child receives the right vaccines at the right time. They can provide personalised guidance based on your child’s health and any specific risk factors.

In Singapore, ensuring your child receives the recommended vaccinations is a vital step in safeguarding their health and the health of the community. By adhering to the national immunisation schedule and consulting with healthcare experts, you can provide your child with a strong defense against preventable diseases, ensuring they grow up healthy and thriving in 2023 and beyond. Remember, vaccination is a shared responsibility that benefits everyone.

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