In Singapore, the Certificate of Vaccination is one of the documents required when registering for Primary One. This is issued to you after your child has completed the recommended childhood vaccinations under the National Childhood Immunization Programme (NCIP).
The NCIP offers several recommended childhood vaccinations for all children in Singapore to take.
From 2 January 2016 onwards, the Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccine for Tuberculosis will no longer be given at polyclinics. If your child did not receive the BCG vaccination when born, do check with your child’s birth hospital!
Pneumoccocal vaccine is the only vaccination in the NICP that isn’t fully subsidized for Singapore Citizens by the Government. However, you can use your child’s Baby Bonus cash gift, Medisave or Child Development Account (CDA) to defray the expense.
ENHANCED IMMUNIZATION PROGRAMME
In addition to the NICP, there are some other optional vaccines that are recommended but not mandatory. Some of which include Rota virus, Influenza, Varicella (Chickenpox), Typhoid, Meningococcus and Hepatitis A.
All vaccines under the Enhanced Immunization Programme can be found at local polyclinics and are generally payable by Medisave or CDA.
ARE VACCINATIONS SAFE?
There’s many controversies over whether vaccinations are safe for young children, and whether there is a need to expose our children to so many of them.
Before you decide on whether to give your child a vaccine, it’s important for you to know what vaccines are. Vaccines are either live, weakened form of viruses (eg. Varicella vaccine for Chickenpox) or made from small pieces taken from a virus (inactivated). In other words, they originated from the virus but are either weakened or “dead”. While all vaccines have very high safety standards, it’s ultimately up to your own comfort level on whether you’d want to let your child have these additional vaccinations.
WHAT TO BRING FOR VACCINATIONS
Depending on where your child gets vaccinated, the items you may need to bring may be different. For polyclinics, you are required to bring your child’s birth certificate, health booklet, parent’s NRIC and CDA card (if you intend to pay using CDA). Subsequent visits would probably just need your child’s health booklet.
Other than that, you may also need to consider items that would keep your child occupied and calm. Some common things may include:
4) Basic Necessities – extra diapers, wet wipes, changing mat, hand sanitizer, extra clothes (for both parents AND baby!)
CARE AFTER IMMUNIZATION
After getting a vaccination jab, please do NOT rub on the injection site! The nurse/doctor would probably advise you to gently apply pressure using the cotton provided to stop the bleeding.
Some parents are anxious to get home after a vaccination appointment, but please bring along whatever you need (and even extra!) so you don’t have to rush back – you should remain in the waiting area for around 15 minutes, or when the nurse calls you back, just to observe for any side effects or reactions such as uncontrollable crying after long periods, fits and redness/swelling/pain over injection site.
It is common for some vaccinations to trigger a fever/rash. In fact, having fever after a vaccination is a good thing because it shows that the body is working hard to learn how to effectively fight against the bad guys! After your vaccination, the nurse should provide you with a bottle of fever medication and advice about how much and when you should give it to your child.
SEEKING MEDICAL ATTENTION
Now that you know fever and rashes are common and what you should take note of before leaving the clinic, when do you start seeking medical attention?
The general rule of thumb is to follow-up with your family doctor/polyclinic if:
- your child’s fever continues over 24 hours
- your child has persistent crying and can’t seem to be comforted
- your child has a fit/seizure after the vaccination
- there’s inflammation/visible swelling at the injection site
OTHER THINGS TO NOTE
If you intend to pay for any vaccination using your child’s CDA, please ensure that there is sufficient balance before your appointment to avoid having to pay it in cash.
Children can be unpredictable. If your child is sick, you may want to consider postponing his/her vaccination so that the body is well enough to fight the virus. This depends on your comfort level, but some nurses advised that a recovering cough/flu/fever is fine IF it is not caused by a viral infection.
Before you leave the clinic, check that the necessary information in the health booklet are filled in. You can check this at the vaccination record within the health booklet – the site of the vaccination, brand of vaccine, date given, batch number and name of clinic should be recorded clearly. If not done so, it may affect your child’s eligibility to get his/her Certificate of Vaccination and may have to retake the vaccine if necessary.
Another good practice would be to take note of your child’s actual age and the recommended age for the vaccination – a private doctor recommended my son to take his vaccinations way before he’s supposed to, I decided to switch over to polyclinic when he started giving the nonchalant attitude to us. When I told the nurses about it, they were glad that I switched because those vaccinations that the private doctor gave were before they’re supposed to be given and it could’ve been nulled if all further vaccinations were done.
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