Vaccinations, immunisation and boosters are things that are often overlooked by adults in Singapore after their mandatory jabs in school.
However, there are many important and recommended immunisations adults can take as well to ensure that they stay healthy and well-protected from illnesses. This is especially important if you are constantly travelling out of the country, which may increase your risk of exposure to viruses.
On top of knowing the types of vaccinations there are and which you would like to take, it’s also important to take note of the cost of your vaccination. However, it is noteworthy that the cost of the vaccine itself does not include the consultation fee and cost of administering the vaccine, which may vary depending on which health institution you go to.
Here’s a look into the costs and types of common vaccines in Singapore.
Mandatory Vaccinations By Law
Diphtheria is a contagious disease that is spread through physical contact or droplets during coughing and sneezing. It is highly contagious and serious, but there is a vaccine for the disease which can be administered for diphtheria prevention.
Diphtheria vaccinations are normally included in the TDAP vaccination, which includes vaccines against Tetanus, Diphtheria and Pertussis (whooping cough).
Measles are a highly contagious airborne infection. It begins as a high fever and causes a rash. In severe cases, measles can lead to lung infections, deafness, blindness and even brain damage.
In Singapore, the vaccination against measles is usually included in the MMR vaccination in primary school, a combined vaccine targetted against Measles, Mumps and Rubella.
Mandatory Child Vaccinations In Primary School
Most mandatory vaccinations required by law are administered at birth and then in school, as they are required by law. By the time a Singaporean child hits 11 years of age, they would have received these 11 recommended immunisation covered by the National Childhood Immunisation Programme.
As a Singaporean child, most of the compulsory vaccinations are free if you are getting vaccinated at the polyclinic. These include all mandatory vaccinations for children excluding pneumococcal disease.
It has even been announced that all childhood vaccinations will be subsidised at polyclinics and CHAS GPs by end 2020. With further subsidies, vaccinations for pneumococcal disease and human papillomavirus (HPV) will be subsidised as well.
#1 Tuberculosis (BCG)
Tuberculosis usually infects the lungs but can affect other parts of the body too. It is an airborne disease and can be fatal if a person sick from tuberculosis is not treated promptly.
#2 Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis (DTap & Tdap)
Tetanus, known as lockjaw, affects the body’s muscles and nerves. It also causes muscle spasms that help with breathing, leading to trouble with breathing that can turn fatal. Usually, a person becomes infected when the bacteria causing Tetanus enters through a break in the skin such as a cut or puncture wound, through a contaminated object.
Pertussis is highly contagious and serious among newborns and infants. This is because they are a group more susceptible to develop complications such as lunch infections, seizures or even fatalities.
#3 Poliovirus (IPV)
Polio, or poliomyelitis, is caused by the poliovirus which is usually spread via food or water contaminated with infected human faeces or infected saliva. This infection can lead to paralysed and deformed arms or legs in severe cases.
#4 Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR)
Mumps is a common childhood viral infection that causes the saliva glands on both sides of the jaw to swell. Mumps spread by respiratory droplets or direct contact with an infected person Complications can lead to infections in the brain, deafness or infertility in males.
Rubella, otherwise known as German measles, is mild when it affects children. However, the disease is serious for expectant women and can lead to serious abnormalities in their babies such as deafness, blindness or mental issues.
#5 Hepatitis B (HepB)
Hepatitis B is a serious liver infection that spread via direct contact with blood or bodily fluids of a carrier.
#6 Haemophilus Influenzae type b (Hib)
Influenza is a contagious disease that can affect anyone. It affects the respiratory tract in humans, causes an inflammation of the mucous membranes. This includes the nose, throat and lungs.
The infection leads to complications such as lung infections in high-risk groups such as children, the elderly, people with chronic diseases, those with weakened immunities as well as expectant mothers.
#7 Pneumococcal Disease (PCV)
Pneumococcal disease is common in children under the age of 2 and the elderly. It is potentially fatal and can cause chest, ear and brain infections to those infected.
Recommended Adult Vaccinations
Apart from the National Child Immunisation Schedule, the Ministry of Health has also released an immunisation schedule for adults –– National Adults Immunisation Schedule, aimed to increase awareness of the benefits of adult vaccination for personal protection and protection of at-risk family members.
Even if adults have been vaccinated before, there are certain vaccines that should be taken depending on their or their family’s susceptibility to diseases, or if they belong to specific groups that require the vaccine –– such as pneumococcal vaccines for persons with pre-existing medical conditions, or Tdap for pregnant women.
Since 1 November 2017, Medisave use is allowed for recommended vaccinations under the NAIS at all public healthcare institutions and Medisave-accredited GPs and private hospitals. This scheme, the Medisave400 scheme, means that Singaporeans can use up to $400 of their Medisave per account.
Influenza is a highly contagious respiratory illness. It is more serious than the common cold.The infection can, at times, lead to complications such as pneumonia and even death especially among older people, young children and people with certain chronic conditions.
Commonly, known as the “flu”, it can affect anyone including healthy people. It attacks the respiratory tract in humans (the nose, throat and the lungs), and causes inflammation of the mucous membranes. You can get a flu vaccination every year to prevent influenza.
Cost: About $30 per dose.
Cost: About $274 per dose.
#3 Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
HPV is the major cause of cervical cancer among women. Usually, the virus is naturally cleared by one’s immune system. Infected cells in the cervix will return to normal in these cases. Otherwise, the infection can persist and cause cells to turn pre-cancerous and eventually cancerous, resulting in cervical cancer.
HPV immunisation can help prevent types of HPV infections that will lead to cervical cancer. It is also now included in the recommended
Cost: About $140 per dose for the 4-valent HPV vaccine, and $220 per dose for the 9-valent HPV vaccine. Total 3 doses.
#4 Tetanus, Diphtheria, Pertussis (Tdap)
Cost: About $70 per dose.
#5 Measles, Mumps, Rubella
Cost: About $70 per dose.
#6 Hepatitis B
Cost: About $135 per dose.
Varicella is the virus otherwise known to cause chickenpox–– an infection that causes itchy, red blisters to appear all over the face and body. Expectant women who contract chickenpox during pregnancy risk bearing children with birth defects. The virus can cause shingles in adulthood.
Cost: About $95 per dose.
Know Why You Want / Need To Get Vaccinated
The cost of your vaccinations varies greatly depending on whether you get them as a child or an adult. On top of that, the extent of subsidy that you are eligible for depends on whether you are a Singaporean resident if you are classified as a high-risk group, or whether you are visiting a public or private health institution.
While getting immunised can help to prevent you from getting diseases that can be vaccine-preventive, it is important to check with your family doctor when in doubt, and avoid jumping onto the next vaccine just in case there may be unsuspecting risks associated with it. Doing so may also help you decide on who is the best practitioner for you to get vaccinated with.