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25 Oct 2018

18th Oct 2018

          The Ministry of Health (MOH) will require documentation of diphtheria and measles vaccination to be submitted by foreign-born children as a prerequisite for the application of long-term immigration passes in Singapore with effect from 1 February 2019.

Personal Protection Conferred by Vaccination

2         Vaccination confers a person protection against infectious diseases, and is especially important for children as they are vulnerable to infection and can develop serious complications. A high level of vaccination coverage in the population also provides protection to those too young to be vaccinated or who cannot be vaccinated due to medical conditions, and brings about herd immunity, thereby reducing the risk of community outbreaks.

3         Vaccinations for diphtheria and measles – two highly contagious and serious diseases that are more easily acquired by children – were mandated by law under the Infectious Diseases Act (IDA) in 1977 and 1985 respectively. The uptake of the vaccinations by resident[1] children cohorts has been consistently high[2].

4         Among foreign-born children however, the number who are not vaccinated against diphtheria and measles or whose vaccination status cannot be ascertained has been increasing in recent years. To ensure high vaccination coverage among all children in Singapore, MOH will require submission of documentation of diphtheria and measles vaccination as a prerequisite for foreign-born children applying for long-term immigration passes in Singapore.

Submission of Documentation of Vaccination

5         With effect from 1 February 2019, foreign-born children aged 12 years old and below, who are applying for the Dependant’s Pass (DP) or Long Term Visit Pass (LTVP) issued by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), and the Student’s Pass issued by the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA), will be required to submit documented proof of vaccination or evidence of immunity for diphtheria and measles to the Health Promotion Board (HPB) for verification[3]. They will have to do so before they proceed with their application to MOM or ICA for their long-term stay in Singapore.

6         Parents/guardians of children who are not due for the required vaccinations at the time of application will be required to follow up on the vaccinations after the child’s entry to Singapore.

7         Those who wish to seek an exemption due to medical reasons will be required to produce a doctor-certified document to HPB.

8         Existing pass holders[4] will not be subject to the requirements when renewing their pass or applying for a new pass.

9         MOH will work with MOM and ICA to inform affected long-term immigration pass applicants of the national childhood vaccination requirements. We will also continue to strengthen education and outreach efforts on vaccination. Current measures include the provision of a health booklet at birth (for children born in Singapore) to highlight the vaccination schedule to parents, vaccination reminders from HPB to parents, and administrative checks by pre-schools and primary schools.

 

 



[1] This refers to children who are Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents.

[2] For example, in 2016, the vaccination coverage was 99% for MMR (Measles, Mumps and Rubella) dose 1 among primary 1 children and 97% for DTP (Diphtheria, Tetanus and Pertussis) Booster dose 2 (Tdap) among primary 5 children.

[3] The estimated processing time taken by HPB is about 10 working days. Applicants can apply for their long-term immigration passes with MOM and ICA after receiving HPB’s notification that it has verified the submitted documented proof of vaccination or evidence of immunity.

[4] Existing pass holders refer to those who hold a valid long-term immigration pass (i.e. DP, LTVP issued by MOM, STP issued by ICA) at the time of application on or after 1 February 2019.