As young mothers, there are countless things we worry about, and want to ensure the best for our little ones. One crucial aspect of their health and well-being is childhood immunizations according to National Childhood Immunisation Schedule.
In this blog post, I will answer some common questions about childhood immunisations and provide you with the information you need to make informed decisions for your child.
Why Are Childhood Immunisations Important?
Childhood immunisations play a vital role in protecting our children from harmful diseases. They help to strengthen their immune systems and guard against a disease prior to its potential to cause illness.
Immunisation is one of the best ways to protect infants, children and teenagers from vaccinepreventable diseases. Some of these diseases can be very serious, requiring hospitalisation or even resulting in death.
Vaccines contain an agent that resembles a disease-causing microorganism to stimulate the body's immune response to recognise the infectious agent, which allows for an effective response during a real encounter.
Are Childhood Immunisations Safe?
Yes, childhood immunisations are safe and have undergone extensive testing and research before being approved for use. Like any medical intervention, they may have mild side effects such as redness or soreness at the injection site, low-grade fever, or temporary fussiness.
However, these side effects are minimal compared to the potential risks associated with the diseases themselves.
When Should My Baby Get Vaccinated?
Baby vaccination typically begin in infancy, starting from birth according to National Childhood Immunisation Schedule (NCIS).
Newborn babies usually receive their very first vaccinations while they are still in the hospital, shortly after delivery.
Upon discharge, you should bring your baby to the paediatrician for his/her first check-up where your PD will run through the immunisation schedule.
Hep B (Hepatitis B) 1st dose and BCG (bacillus Calmette-Guerin)
Hep B 2nd dose
Diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis-polio (DTP-Polio), Haemophilus influenzae type B (Hib) 1st dose
DTP-polio, Hib 2nd dose
Pneumococcal 1st dose
Hep B 3rd dose
DTP-polio, Hib 3rd dose
Pneumococcal 1st Booster
MMR (measles, mumps, rubella), varicella 1st dose
MMR (measles, mumps, rubella), varicella 2nd dose
DTP-polio, Hib 1st booster
6 Months to 59 Months
Is Vaccination Compulsory for Children in Singapore?
Every child in Singapore is vaccinated according to the National Childhood Immunisation Schedule (NCIS), comprising childhood vaccinations recommended as the standard of care for protection against vaccine-preventable diseases.
In Singapore, vaccinations against measles and diphtheria are compulsory for children under the Infectious Diseases Act.
There are other vaccinations that are not compulsory but highly recommended by the Ministry of Health, based on recommendations from the Expert Committee on Immunisation (ECI), which takes into consideration elements such as local disease burden, vaccine safety, efficacy and cost-effectiveness of the vaccines:
- Hepatitis B
Today, vaccines are combined into a single injection. These 5-in-1 or 6-in-1 vaccines means fewer injections for children.
- The 5-in-1 injection combines vaccines against Diphtheria/Pertussis/Tetanus (DPT), Polio and Haemophilus Influenzae type B (Hib) in 1 injection.
- The 6-in-1 injection combines vaccines against Diphtheria/Pertussis/Tetanus (DPT), Polio, Haemophilus Influenzae type B (Hib) and Hepatitis B in 1 injection.
- The MMRV vaccine combines vaccines against four common childhood diseases, Measles, Mumps, Rubella and Varicella (also known as chickenpox).
Are There Any Exemptions for Vaccination?
Immunisation is generally recommended for most babies, but if your baby is currently experiencing a high fever or has had an adverse reaction to certain vaccines in the past, it is advisable to seek further advice from your doctor.
In cases where a child's immune system is compromised due to an illness or medical treatment, live vaccines such as MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) or polio should be avoided.
Which Diseases Do Childhood Immunisations Protect against?
Childhood immunisations protect against several diseases that can have serious consequences for our little ones. Some of the most common vaccinations include those for measles, mumps, rubella, polio, diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, and hepatitis.
The National Childhood Immunisation Schedule comprises vaccinations that protect against the following diseases:
- Tuberculosis (TB)
- Hepatitis B
- Pertussis (Whooping cough)
- Poliomyelitis (Polio)
- Haemophilus Influenzae Type B (Hib)
- Pneumococcal infection
- Chickenpox (Varicella)
- Influenza (Flu)
- Human Papillomavirus
Are There Any Side Effects of Child Vaccines That I Should Be Aware of?
While it’s normal for your baby to cry a little after getting the injection, like any medical intervention, child vaccine could have potential side effects. However, it's important to note that the majority of these side effects are mild and temporary.
Common side effects of child vaccines may include pain, swelling, or redness at the injection site, mild fever, headache, fussiness, or soreness. These side effects typically resolve within a few days.
Severe side effects from child vaccines are extremely rare. Allergic reactions and seizures can occur, but they are very uncommon. Caregivers and healthcare providers carefully monitor for any severe reactions after vaccination.
It's important to remember that the benefits of child vaccination in preventing serious and potentially life-threatening diseases far outweigh the risks of potential side effects.
Before vaccinating your child, consult your healthcare provider who can provide specific information about the vaccines being administered, their potential side effects, and address any concerns you may have.
What Can I Expect during a Childhood Immunisation Appointment?
During a childhood immunisation appointment, your child's healthcare provider will administer the necessary vaccines through injections or oral doses. They will explain the purpose and potential side effects of each vaccine and answer any questions or concerns you may have.
It's normal for your child to experience some discomfort or minor side effects afterward, but these should subside within a few days.
How Can I Support My Child during and after Immunisations?
As a parent, there are several ways you can help your child during and after immunisations. Comforting and reassuring them during the appointment can help alleviate their anxiety.
Applying a cold compress or gently massaging the injection site can provide relief if they experience any discomfort. It's also essential to monitor for any unusual reactions and contact your healthcare provider if you have concerns.
How Can You Pay for Child Vaccinations in Singapore?
In Singapore, there are several ways to pay for child vaccinations. Here are some options available:
- National Childhood Immunisation Schedule (NCIS): Under the NCIS, recommended vaccinations for children are subsidised by the Singapore government. The subsidies cover a significant portion of the vaccination costs. It is important to note that the subsidised rates may vary depending on the type of vaccination and the healthcare provider.
- Medisave: Parents can use their Medisave accounts to pay for their child's vaccinations. Medisave is a medical savings account that Singapore citizens and permanent residents contribute to regularly. The amount available for vaccination payment can be checked on the Central Provident Fund (CPF) website or at a CPF service centre.
It is essential to consult with your child's healthcare provider or clinic for specific information on payment options and the cost of vaccinations. They will provide you with detailed information on the costs and the available subsidies or financial assistance schemes.
Please note that the above information is subject to change, and it is always best to verify the most up-to-date information from official sources such as the Ministry of Health (MOH) or the National Immunisation Registry (NIR).
Childhood immunisations are a crucial step in protecting our children from preventable diseases. By understanding the importance of vaccinations, the diseases they protect against, and the safety measures in place, we can confidently make informed decisions for our little ones.
Remember to consult with your child's healthcare provider for personalized advice and always prioritize their well-being. Together, we can ensure a healthier future for our children.