According to the Health Promotion Board (HPB) of Singapore, vaccinations serve to protect your child against some serious childhood infectious diseases. The vaccines are given to children when they are young because these diseases can strike at an early age. Different vaccines are given at varying times and schedules to offer the best protection.
Childhood immunisations are very important
If your child is not vaccinated against the diseases, he may not have immunity and the following can happen:
- Your child can contract the diseases easily from another person.
- Serious illnesses and even death may occur.
- He will spread the diseases to others (children and adults too) who are not immune. This may result in an epidemic if too many people are infected.
By law, there are a number of vaccinations that are compulsory for children to receive. Diphtheria must be completed before a child turns one year old whilst measles must be completed before they turn two.
When a child registers for primary school in Singapore, he or she also needs to be vaccinated against a variety of infectious diseases such as BCG, pertussis, tetanus, poliomyelitis, mumps, rubella and hepatitis B.
Some Optional Vaccines
Over the years, a number of new vaccines such as the ones listed below have been developed to provide protection against many other diseases.
These include: Combination Vaccines, Pneumococcal Vaccine, Rotavirus Vaccine, Influenza Vaccine and Chicken Pox Vaccine.
You can discuss these optional vaccines with your child’s doctor.
What Are "5-in-1" and "6-in-1" Vaccines?
These newer childhood vaccine formulations combine vaccines against 5 or 6 diseases into a single injection. These combination vaccines have been proved to be safe and effective. The 5 in 1 vaccine is provided free of charge for Singapore citizens in Government polyclinics. However, do take note that the cost of 6-in-1 vaccine is not subsidised by the government. Consult your family doctor for more information on 5-in-1 and 6-in-1.
- 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.
In Singapore the National Immunisation Registry (NIR) maintains the immunisation records for all Singapore Residents aged 18 years and below.
Parents can view their child's immunisation records at the NIR website www.nir.hpb.gov.sg
NIR uses the SingPass password for authentication.
When Should My Child Receive His/Her Immunisation?
The first immunisation starts when your child is born. The BCG vaccine for Tuberculosis and the first dose of Hepatitis B vaccine are given soon after your baby is born.
Subsequently, you will have to bring your baby for regular immunisations at the family clinic, polyclinic or paediatric clinic.
The National Childhood Immunisation Programme provides a recommended schedule for childhood immunisation against ten potentially dangerous childhood diseases. Please click https://www.nir.hpb.gov.sg/nirp/eservices/immunisationSchedule for the immunisation schedule.
Are there times when my child should not be vaccinated?
There are times when your child should not be vaccinated or be given a particular vaccine. Sometimes special precautions need to be taken.
You should inform the doctor if your child:
- is sick
- has a medical condition e.g. fits, poor immunity, neurological disorder, abnormal development, etc
- is on medication
- has received recent infusion of blood products e.g. immunoglobulins
- has allergies e.g. egg, drugs, etc
- has had a severe reaction to a vaccine before
- has contacts with anyone with poor immunity
If you are uncertain whether your child should proceed with the vaccination, you should ask your doctor.
How safe are the vaccines and are there any side effects?
Vaccinations are generally safe. However, like all medications, some people may develop a severe reaction. Most immunisation reactions are mild and harmless. It is common to have a mild fever, sore arm or slight redness and swelling after a vaccination. While most reactions start within 1 – 2 days and last 2 – 3 days, some vaccines have been associated with reactions that may occur later. 2 – 3 weeks after BCG vaccination, a small red lump usually appears at the injection site. This lump may increase in size and develop into an ulcer with a crust forming over it. A scar remains after the crust falls off. This is a normal reaction and not a side effect.
Following MMR vaccination, some children develop a fever and rash 1 – 2 weeks later or swelling of the glands of the neck after 3 – 4 weeks. Some develop a mild chicken pox like rash up to a month after chicken pox vaccination.
You should see a doctor if your child:
- has very high fever
- has unusual cry or cries incessantly
- has a severe rash or swelling
- has fits
- is unwell e.g. difficulty breathing, pale, fast heartbeat, etc
- is not behaving normally
Current scientific evidence does not show that vaccinations cause developmental problems in children.
How can I help my child during the vaccinations?
Here are some simple ways to help your child:
- Bring along your child’s favourite toy or blanket.
- Stay calm – your child is able to pick up on your feelings.
- Comfort and reassure your child by holding, cuddling and talking to him or her.
- Observe your child over the next few days for some of the adverse effects mentioned above.
- Your doctor may give you some medication to give to your child to reduce the pain or fever.
- Ensure that your child drinks plenty of fluids. You may try sponging him or her with tepid water if he or she develops a fever.
What if my child misses one or more vaccinations?
Your doctor will be able to advise you on how your children can catch-up on the immunisation schedule.
For Immunisation Chart based on age click on
(Revised in April 2014)
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