The Department of Infectious Diseases at Changi General Hospital (CGH), a member of the SingHealth group, shares the truth about vaccines. 

Immunisation is one of the most effective ways of protecting yourself against diseases and preventing them from spreading. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), immunisation is “the process whereby a person is made immune to an infectious disease by the administration of a vaccine. Vaccines stimulate the body’s own immune system to protect the person against subsequent infection or disease.”

Over the years, vaccines have dramatically decreased the threat of infectious diseases that were once widespread, including rabies, rubella and yellow fever. Deaths from vaccine-preventable diseases (VPDs) are now very rare in the developed world. Today, the list of diseases that vaccines can help prevent continues to expand, and more lives are being saved and protected from potentially lifethreatening diseases than ever before.

Difference between vaccination and immunisation

Vaccination is the administration of a vaccine (orally or through injections) to help a person’s immune system develop protection from specific infections, while immunisation is the process of both having the vaccine and becoming immune to the disease as a result of the vaccine.

Vaccines: Myth vs Fact


rVaccines received during childhood will protect you for a lifetime.

üThe specific vaccines you need as an adult depend on your health conditions, lifestyle, travel plans and previous vaccines you received during childhood. Some childhood vaccines may require a booster shot every few years to ensure that the level of immunity remains high.

rNatural immunity is better than vaccine-induced immunity.

üThe only way to get natural immunity is by getting infected with the disease. Natural infections can cause severe health complications and in some instances, can be fatal. On the other hand, vaccines are safe because the viruses or bacteria are inactive so they cannot cause infection.

rVaccines are not proven to prevent influenza.

üMost influenza vaccines offer immunity to the four most prevalent strains. *Recent studies show that the flu vaccination reduces the risk of flu illness between 40 per cent and 60 per cent among the population during seasons when most circulating flu viruses are well matched to the current flu vaccine.

*(2 Influenza A and 2 Influenza B strains)

rVaccines can cause autism.

üResearchers have conducted extensive studies over the last two decades to determine if there is a link between the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine and autism. None of them found any association between the MMR vaccine and autism.

Read the next page to learn about the common types of vaccines.

Ref: L20