1. Starting 1 December 2011, children will receive both doses of Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR) vaccine at a younger age as part of a revised National Childhood Immunisation Schedule (NCIS). MMR vaccination is the most effective way to protect against measles, mumps, and rubella, which are highly contagious childhood diseases that can lead to serious complications in children and in the case of measles, even death.
2. The Ministry of Health has accepted the recommendation of the Expert Committee on Immunisation (ECI) for children to receive their first dose of the MMR vaccine at 12 months of age, instead of the previous age band of 12-24 months. This will help reduce the number of measles cases seen in unvaccinated children aged 15 months and below. The second dose of the vaccine has also been brought forward from 6-7 years of age to between 15-18 months of age. Providing the two doses at a closer interval will ensure that almost all vaccinated children are sufficiently protected against measles earlier in their lives.
Updated recommendations on pneumococcal vaccination
3. Additionally, from 1 December 2011, children who have either started or completed their vaccination with 7-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV7) are advised to receive a supplemental dose of 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13). PCV13 contains six additional pneumococcal serotypes, in addition to the seven serotypes in PCV7.
4. Parents are encouraged to consult their child’s paediatrician or family doctor for advice on vaccination specific to their child’s needs. Immunisation can be done at polyclinics, GP clinics, or paediatric clinics.
Vaccination expenses covered by Medisave, Baby Bonus and CDA
5. MMR vaccination is fully subsidised in polyclinics for Singapore citizens. For pneumococcal vaccination, parents can utilise Medisave, Baby Bonus, or the Child Development Account (CDA). Currently, parents can use up to $300 per year under the Medisave300 to help pay for their children’s pneumococcal vaccination at healthcare institutions participating in the scheme. From 1 January 2012, this amount will be raised to $400 per Medisave account per year
6. Parents may wish to refer to the list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on the Ministry of Health’s website for additional information on the above changes to the National Childhood Immunisation Schedule. The FAQs are available here: http://bit.ly/vvY0Zy
MINISTRY OF HEALTH
29 NOVEMBER 2011