Before children start school in Singapore, it is important to ensure immunizations are up-to-date. Children are exposed to a range of potentially dangerous diseases due to the large number of people they come into contact with. Therefore, proven and safe protection against diseases that can cause serious illness, or even death, is essential.

The importance of vaccinations
Singapore’s Health Promotion Board advises that diseases can rapidly spread throughout the population and cause epidemics if children are not immunized. While a consistent public health vaccination program has reduced contagious disease to relatively low levels in Singapore, because the country is a major transport hub, it is both vulnerable and receptive to diseases being introduced by travelers.  In fact, studies by health authorities over the last decade have identified that the majority of notifiable diseases that occurred in Singapore such as viral hepatitis, malaria, cholera and typhoid resulted from importation. In support of this trend, the number of cases of tuberculosis among non-residents has continued to rise in tandem with an increase in the number of expatriates and tourists in Singapore.

Under Singapore’s Infectious Disease Regulations two vaccinations, namely diphtheria and measles immunizations, are mandatory for every child residing in the country. According to Singapore’s National Childhood Immunization Schedule, immunizations should be completed prior to a child’s entry into primary school. At the time of registering with a school, a child who has not yet had the necessary immunizations will not be denied enrollment, but parents or guardians will be reminded to arrange these prior to the beginning of the school year.

Know what to protect against
Additional to the mandatory vaccinations, the schedule specifically recommends vaccination against tuberculosis, whooping cough, tetanus, hepatitis B, mumps, rubella and poliomyelitis. The Health Promotion Board suggests that while these vaccinations are not mandatory in the country, it is worth seriously considering the range of immunizations available in order to protect children from the ill-effects and suffering associated with preventable disease. These vaccinations can be crucial in maintaining a child’s health, as they help prevent a range of serious diseases in their early years and beyond. Numerous studies have highlighted that even if a child contracts a disease after being vaccinated against it, the symptoms and severity of the infection is generally milder than what it otherwise would be.

The need for vaccinations in Singapore is echoed by the US Centre for Disease Control, which specifically recommends immunization against hepatitis A due to the susceptibility of contracting the disease through contaminated food or water, regardless of the location of accommodation or type of eateries frequented. Likewise, typhoid can also be contracted through food or water sources, but in particular when staying with friends or relatives, or travelling to smaller cities or rural areas,  and is also recommended.

For more information on immunizations and how to have the costs associated with them covered by your health insurance, please contact Pacific Prime Singapore today.

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