Vaccination is one way to ensure a safe and healthy development in your child. Doctors from KK Women's and Children's Hospital, a member of the SingHealth group, give an overview of vaccinations for children.
Prevent problems by ensuring your child gets vaccinated
Children need special attention in their early years for their healthy development. One area that is crucial for their safety and healthy growth is ensuring that they receive all their recommended vaccines. Vaccination is a powerful tool to prevent infectious diseases.
Vaccines work best when given at the right time. For example, the measles vaccine is usually not given until the child is at least one year old. It may not work well if it is given earlier than the recommended age.
Some vaccines such as DTaP/IPV/ Hib (or 5-in-1) need to be given as a series of injections to be more effective.
What should I do if my child misses his/her shot?
Don't worry if your child did not start on any vaccination on time. You can take your child for the shot as soon as possible.
If your child missed some of the shots and has fallen behind the schedule, get them as soon as you can. Your child will not need to start the whole schedule all over again.
Certain vaccines are given together in a single shot, for example MMR (measles, mumps and rubella). In recent years, more vaccine components have been combined resulting in newer combination vaccines that decrease the number of shots your child needs to get, e.g 5-in-1 (includes diphtheria / pertussis / tetanus, inactivated polio, Haemophilus influenzae type B), 6-in-1 (adds hepatitis B to the 5-in-1 combination).
There are times when your child should not be given a particular vaccine. Before vaccination, check with the doctor if the timing is correct and what possible reactions you can expect. Let your doctor know if your child:
- Is not feeling well
- Has any allergies, e.g. egg allergy
- Has developed a severe reaction after being vaccinated previously
- Is suffering from seizures or any disorder of the nervous system
- Does not seem to be developing normally
- Has a weakened immune system, e.g. your child is on steroids or has cancer
- Lives in a household where someone has a weakened immune system
- Received blood transfusion recently
Are vaccinations safe?
Generally, vaccinations are safe. But like most other medications, they can sometimes cause mild reactions such as fever or a sore arm. Severe reactions are rare.
The BCG vaccination will produce a small bump about two weeks later. This bump should dry up and heal in two to four months, but the scar will remain.
For the MMR vaccine, your child may develop a fever about one week after being vaccinated. For the chicken pox vaccine, your child may develop fever and rashes 1 to 2 weeks later.
Getting the disease is usually more serious than any mild side effect from the vaccination. So, it is safer to have your child vaccinated against various diseases than to forgo vaccinations. If there are any serious reactions, take your child to see your doctor immediately. If you have any concerns, please feel free to clarify them with your doctor.
How effective are vaccines?
"Fact: 90 to 99 per cent of children who are vaccinated will develop immunity to the diseases they were vaccinated for. However, there may be a few children who may not respond adequately to the vaccine," say doctors from
KK Women's and Children's Hospital, a member of the
SingHealth group. This is another reason why vaccinations are important. They protect all children who are vaccinated as well as those who may not have developed immunity.
|In short||What is it for?|
|DTap||Diphtheria / pertussis / tetanus|
|MMR||Measles, mumps and rubella|
|5-in-1||Diphtheria / pertussis / tetanus, inactivated polio, Haemophilus influenzae type B|
|6-in-1||Adds hepatitis B to the 5-in-1 combination|
What if the mother is a hepatitis B carrier?
Babies born to mothers who are hepatitis B carriers should not receive combination vaccines containing hepatitis B, e.g. the 6-in-1 vaccination as these vaccines may not offer adequate protection. Instead, they should receive hepatitis B vaccinations separately and have their blood tested at 9 months of age for hepatitis B immunity and carrier status. If they are not immune to hepatitis B, then they should receive an additional dose of hepatitis B vaccine at 1 year of life.