What is childhood vaccination protecting my child from?

Every Singaporean parent knows about the National Childhood Immunisation Programme and all the vaccines that their children should be getting. (If you don’t know what that is, read up here!)

The National Immunisation Registry (NIR) monitors and ensures that each child gets his/her immunisation at the appropriate time. If a child misses any of his/her immunisations, the NIR will send a reminder letter to the parents.

But what are these diseases that we are protecting our children from?

The National Childhood and Adolescent Immunisation Programme protects against 12 serious and potentially deadly diseases. Read on to find out what these essential vaccinations are protecting your children from.


1. Tuberculosis (TB)

TB usually attacks the lungs, but it can also infect any other part of the body. If it is not properly treated, it can be fatal. TB spreads through the air.


2. Hepatitis B

This is a serious viral liver infection that spreads by direct contact with blood or bodily fluids of a carrier. Your baby’s first dose of the Hepatitis B vaccine will be given soon after birth. In all, there are three doses to take.


3. Diphtheria

This is a bacterial infection that affects the throat mainly. In more serious cases, it can affect the heart and nerves and block the breathing passage. Diphtheria is very contagious and is potentially life threatening. Immunisation for Diphtheria is compulsory by law.


4. Pertussis (Whooping cough)

This is very contagious and can cause serious illness in infants and children. It can lead to pneumonia (lung infection) and brain damage.


5. Tetanus

Also known as lockjaw, this affects the body’s muscles and nerves. Without treatment, tetanus can be fatal.


6. Measles

Measles is a highly contagious viral infection that affects the body’s breathing system. It usually starts with high fever and causes a rash. Lung infection, deafness and brain damage can occur. It spreads through people coughing and sneezing and through touching contaminated surfaces. Most people recover completely but some people can get very ill especially if complications arise. Immunisation for Measles is compulsory by law.


7. Mumps

A common childhood viral infection that causes the glands that produce saliva (on both sides of the jaw) to swell. It is contagious 1- 2 days before symptoms appear until 1 -2 days after they disappear. A serious case of mumps can lead to brain infection, deafness and sterility.


8. Rubella

This is usually mild when it affects children, with a rash possibly appearing. Your child should stay home while sick or up to a week after the rash disappears. If a expectant woman is affected during early pregnancy, it may result in birth defects such as blindness, deafness, or intellectual disability.


9. Pneumococcal infection

This disease is common in children under 2 years and the elderly. It can lead to chest, ear and brain infections (which can be potentially fatal).


10. Haemophilus Influenzae Type B (Hib)

Hib is a bacterium that causes meningitis and acute respiratory infections, mainly in infants and children under five years of age. It is frequently associated with severe complications of the brain and spinal cord, and is also a major cause of pneumonia in children. The bacterium is spread from person to person through respiratory droplets that spread during coughing or sneezing.

11. Poliomyelitis (Polio)

Often called Polio, this can lead to paralysed and deformed arms or legs.


12. Human Papillomavirus

Cervical cancer is caused mainly by a virus called the human papillomavirus. The Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) can infect the cervix, causing the cells to change. In most of the infection cases, the virus clears by itself and the cells return to normal. In some cases however, the infection can persist and cause the cells to grow in an abnormal way, resulting in cervical cancer.


What do I do?

The only way to keep your child safe and protected from these dangerous diseases, is to strengthen their immunity by getting them vaccinated. Be responsible and keep your child vaccinated and up to date with their vaccinations.


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