Guide: Vaccination 101 – Making sense of the vaccines needed

Once upon a time, I remember feeling very lost regarding vaccinations and finding little information on it. MMR? MMRV? 5 in 1? 6 in 1? Those were alien concepts to me and I had to ask around and research to figure out what’s going on. The purpose of this post is to shed some light on it.

According to KKH, the required vaccinations that a baby needs is as below:
1. Tuberculosis (BCG)
2. Hepatitis B (HepB) – 2nd and 3rd dose is part of 6 in 1
3. Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis (DTaP) – Part of 5 in 1 and 6 in 1
4. Poliovirus (IPV) – Part of 5 in 1 and 6 in 1
5. Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib)
6. Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR)

Optional vaccines are:
1. Pneumococcal Disease
2. Rotavirus
3. Hepatitis A (HepA)
4. Varicella (Chicken Pox) – Part of the MMRV jab

We opted for the 5 in 1 jab and MMRV. We opted for 5 in 1 because it was offered free at polyclinics but it was quite heart breaking seeing Baby E wail after taking 2 jabs one after another at the polyclinic. She developed a high fever after that. If I can turn back time, I’d have opted for 6 in 1.

Some good to knows:
1. Required vaccines are offered free at polyclinics for Singapore citizens. BCG is given free at the hospital before the baby is discharged. There is a priority queue system at the polyclinics for babies and the immunisation room is located at a separate area typically. Hence, it could actually be faster to do it at the polyclinic rather than wait at a pediatrician’s office. The downside is that Saturday appointments are hard to come by and the wait could be longer. For weekday appointments you will have to take leave. =(

2. Rotarix must be given before 8 months of age. Interval between the 2 doses is 8 weeks so the latest you have to start is about 6 months of age. Those who intend to send the kid to childcare, please do consider doing this vaccination. It’s an oral vaccine so it’s quite painless.

3. Polyclinics offer 5 in 1 jabs so you will have to pay if you want to do 6 in 1. Similarly, polyclinics only offer MMR free so if you want to do MMRV, you have to pay.

4. There can be some side effects after you take the jabs. Most common being fever. Baby E had spots after doing MMRV.

5. The kid becomes sensitive to clinic visits by 12 months so visits during 12-18months may be traumatizing for you and the kid. You should be done with all jabs by 18months. A tip to make clinic visits easier is to buy him/her a toy doctor set. Baby E used to scream and thrash once we enter a clinic but after she got the doctor set, she started to accept doctor visits because it gives her a chance to analyse how the doctor uses his/her equipment.

Costs:
1. Overall cost: $0 if your child is a Singaporean and does the standard vaccines at the polyclinic. It will cost about $1200 to do the whole set of required vaccinations at a private clinic. I expect it’ll cost more now given that this price was from 2 years ago.

2. Rotarix: Rotavirus vaccine cost $95 a dose. Entire course is 2 doses. We did this at a private clinic and it’s an oral vaccine.

3. Pneumococcal cost $150 per jab, 3 doses. This was done at the polyclinic and we used Medisave to offset the cost.

4. MMRV cost $125 per jab, 2 doses. We did this at a private clinic.

 

It boils down to the parents’ decision regarding whether to get the optional vaccines and where to do all the vaccinations. For us we chose to do this at the polyclinic because it’s one of the perks of being a Singaporean. For the optional vaccines, we did them at the private clinic if there is no benefit doing it at the polyclinic. I appreciated the flexibility of bringing the kid in to the clinic downstairs at night for a jab. So hassle free! All in all, am just glad that the vaccination phase is over. It was probably more painful for me to watch her get a jab than getting a jab myself.

Useful links:
1. https://www.kkh.com.sg/HealthPedia/Pages/ChildhoodIllnessesVaccinations.aspx
2. http://www.sbcc.sg/healthresources/childvaccinations/
3. http://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/health/many-young-children-not-getting-pneumococcal-vaccine-due-to-cost
4. https://www.nhgp.com.sg/faq.aspx?id=720dda1c60b242a2999b475c0438ba78

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