So, how important is it to vaccinate your baby?
To start, vaccines protect babies against severe diseases that can lead to disabilities or even death. These shots act as a barrier of protection for both your little one and other children as well. In other terms, this is known as herd immunity and 95% of the community has to be vaccinated before it can be achieved. With more people vaccinated, the more resistant a community will be to infections and diseases.
Following the law, only vaccinations for diphtheria (a serious infection that can lead to difficulty breathing, heart failure, paralysis, and even death) and measles are compulsory for children in Singapore. Other vaccinations that are not compulsory but are strongly encouraged for are hepatitis B, mumps, pertussis (whooping cough), pneumococcal, polio, rubella (German measles) and tetanus.
The Ministry of Health Singapore offers immunisation for Singaporean children for free at polyclinics. This includes the ‘5-in-1’ dose that protects against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio and influenza type B.
The ‘6-in-1’ vaccine, however, protects against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, influenza type B, hepatitis B, PCV13 (pneumococcus), MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) and varicella (chickenpox) - but comes at a cost.
Surf the net and you will come across plenty of debates and discussions surrounding vaccinations in babies and children. While there are many misconceptions, one thing for sure is that the chances of getting side effects from a vaccine are much lower than the chances of contracting the diseases listed above.
Diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio and influenza shots may cause some redness and swelling at the site of the injection that will go away in a few days. A fever may also develop in a span of 1-2 days following the injection.
The MMR vaccine may cause a brief reaction such as mild cough, runny nose, skin rash, fever or swollen salivary glands while it works to protect children against potentially deadly diseases.
Pneumococcal vaccines may cause the usual redness and slight swelling at the injection site, fever and fatigue.
BCG vaccinations may cause a small boil to develop 2-3 weeks after the injection which will resolve in about 6-8 weeks. In the event that the boil bursts, cover it with a piece of gauze to prevent any infection.
All in all, choosing to vaccinate your baby could easily be the best way to protect them from infectious diseases.
Should you still be clouded with any doubts, do not hesitate to bring up your concerns to your trusted paediatrician. After all, your baby’s health and wellness shall always be your top priority. 🎀👶🏻