Vaccinations are used to administer immunisation as a way to protect a child against certain infectious diseases caused by bacteria and viruses. As diseases can strike at a very young age, it is compulsory for every child in Singapore to go through a series of vaccinations.
As a first-time parent, your child?s immunisation programme can appear rather daunting, what?s with long vaccination names, as well as the frequency and time frame they should be administered. Hence we have put together a guide to baby vaccinations to ease your concerns.
Understanding the Different Vaccinations
The following chart is the Singapore National Immunisation Schedule. It details when certain vaccinations are to be given in a child?s early years.
Table: Singapore National Immunisation Schedule (obtained from Ministry of Health, Singapore)
- MMR Vaccine
MMR refers to measles, mumps and rebella (German measles) in short. The vaccine offers protection against these common childhood diseases that are highly contagious, and can lead to serious complications including death. There are altogether 2 doses, the first given at 12 months, and the second at 15 months.
- Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine
Offers protection against pneumococcal diseases, a type of infection that affects children under the age of 5. It involves 3+1 doses, of which 3 shots will be given before the first birthday, and a booster shot to be given after 12 months old.
- Rotavirus Vaccine
Offers protection against rotavirus, a common cause of severe diarrhea and vomiting in infants and young children. A total of 2 doses is required, with an interval of 8 weeks. This vaccine is administered orally and must be completed by 8 months old.
- BCG (Bacillus Calmette-Guerin) Vaccine
Offers protection against tuberculosis, a highly-infectious disease. The first dose of vaccination is given to a child at birth. The second dose is given to the child at 12 years old.
- 6-in-1 Vaccine (DTPa-IPV/HiB/HBV)
This offers protection against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), polio and haemophilus influenza Type B. There are 3 doses in all. The minimum age is 6 weeks old, and needs to be completed by about 6 months.
- 5-in-1 Vaccine (DTPa-IPV/HiB)
This vaccine excludes the protection against haemophilus influenza Type B. Only 1 dose is required. The child can receive the vaccination against haemophilus influenza Type B separately.
- HAV (Hepatitis A Vaccine)
This offers protection against an infection of the liver that results from ingesting contaminated food or drinks. There are 2 doses. The minimum age to take the vaccination is 1 year old.
- HBV (Hepatitis B Vaccine)
This offers protection against an infection transmitted through contact with blood and other body fluids of an infected person. There are 3 doses. The first dose is often given soon after birth. The second and third doses can be given as part of the 6-in-1.
Parents are strongly encouraged to follow the immunisation schedule as strictly as possible. However, there is no need to fret unduly should you miss a regular vaccination session. Simply inform your doctor about the situation so that your child can catch up on the required shots ? missing a session does not warrant starting the series of vaccinations all over again!
Finally, here?s a tip to baby vaccinations in Singapore. Instead of paying up to hundreds when you bring your child to a paediatrician for vaccinations, schedule an appointment at a nearby polyclinic to have the same vaccinations done free of charge. However, do note that only compulsory vaccinations are free, and it is only available to Singapore citizens. During the session, a nurse will also perform the Growth Monitoring and Development Progress Check to ensure that your child is developing well. But do schedule an appointment in advance, as most polyclinics tend to have a long wait list.
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