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Food & Health

Immunisation Alert!

A disturbing trend was reported by the Ministry of Health earlier this year – the number of cases of measles have tripled in 2016 in Singapore. As of 21 May 2016, a total of 50 cases of measles were reported, as compared to 17 cases in 2015 during the same period. Take a look at the infographic below for more information:

Measles Singapore 2016

The importance of vaccinations for children is well documented. It is important that your child is protected against childhood diseases that could have serious consequences that as they grow older. What happens if you don’t immunise your child against these diseases? Well for one, they could get infected from someone else and contract serious diseases that could result in death. They could transmit the diseases to other children or adults who are not immune, and on a larger scale, this could result in an epidemic. Here are some commonly asked questions regarding vaccinations. 

How do vaccinations work?

Vaccines work with the body to develop immunity against certain dangerous and deadly disease. Different types of vaccines are available but what they essentially do is mimic infections so that your body’s natural defences will produce antibodies and T-lymphocytes to fight them. Because the vaccines only mimic the infection, they do not cause the diseases. The body will then “remember” how to fight the infection in the future.

Are vaccinations safe?

Vaccinations are carefully regulated and licensed for use. They are generally safe, but can cause minor reactions like fever. The BCG vaccination can also cause a small bump on the arm. 

What are some vaccinations that are compulsory in Singapore?

Immunisations for diphtheria and measles are compulsory by law. We’re very fortunate here in Singapore – the National Immunisation Registry was set up to monitor your child’s immunisation history, and will send you a letter if your child was found to have missed an immunisation. For all other immunisations that are recommended for Singaporeans, refer to the National Childhood Immunisation Schedule, set up according to age for your easy reference. 

What are 6-in-1 and 5-in-1 vaccinations?

5-in-1 vaccines combine these vaccine components together in a single shot: diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, inactivated polio and Haemophilus influenzae type B. The 6-in-1 vaccine has an added hepatitis B vaccine in the 5-in-1 combination. This decreases the number of shots that your child would need to get. 

This article is an extension of an article found in the print edition of Singapore’s Child July Issue 176 with the headline ‘Get Immunised’. 

What are your thoughts on vaccinations? Share them with us below!