The first few years of a child's life are crucial for their development, and as a parent, safeguarding their health is a top priority. One of the most effective ways to protect your child from potentially harmful diseases is through vaccinations.
It may seem overwhelming, given the array of vaccines available and the numerous schedules to remember. However, the importance of vaccinations in safeguarding your child's health cannot be overemphasized.
Vaccines play an integral role in ensuring the well-being of your child by fortifying their immune system against a host of preventable diseases. Understanding these vaccines, their administration schedules, and their significance is essential for every parent. In this context, discussing compulsory vaccination for kids in Singapore becomes imperative.
Understanding Vaccines and Immunity
Let's start with the basics. A vaccine acts as a tiny defender, training your baby's immune system to combat harmful diseases. When the vaccine, which contains a weakened or dead form of the disease-causing germ, enters the body, the immune system learns how to fight that particular germ. The next time your baby encounters the same germ, their immune system will remember it and be ready to fight it off.
I understand your concern: "Why expose my baby to a weakened form of a disease-causing germ?" It's a valid question, and the answer lies in the fact that newborns have a weaker immune system. Vaccines play a crucial role by providing them with the necessary training and experience to develop a robust defence against harmful diseases.
The Concept of Herd Immunity
There's this concept known as 'herd immunity,' and it's like a community watch but for diseases. When a large portion of a community is vaccinated against a disease, it becomes challenging for the disease to spread easily. This collective immunity is beneficial as it helps protect vulnerable individuals who cannot get vaccinated due to medical reasons, such as newborns or those with weakened immune systems.
Mandatory Vaccines for Newborns
1. Hepatitis B Vaccine
First on the list is the Hepatitis B vaccine. Hepatitis B is a liver infection that can lead to serious complications like liver cancer. The first dose of this vaccine is usually given at birth, with subsequent doses at 1-2 months and one at 6 months old.
2. Diphtheria, Tetanus, and Pertussis Vaccine
Next, we have the DTaP vaccine. It protects against diphtheria (a throat infection), tetanus (a disease that can be contracted from exposure to a rusty nail.), and pertussis (whooping cough). Your child will need several doses of this one at 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 18 months, and a booster between 10-11 years old.
3. Haemophilus Influenza Type B Vaccine
Despite its name, it has nothing to do with the flu. It protects against a type of bacteria that can cause severe diseases like meningitis and pneumonia. Your child will need this vaccine at 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, and 18 months.
4. Polio Vaccine
Polio is a disease that can cause paralysis and even death. Thankfully, the Polio vaccine has nearly eradicated it from most parts of the world. This vaccine is given at 2 months, 4 months, 18 months, and 10-11 years.
5. Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine
It protects against pneumococcal bacteria, which can lead to serious infections like pneumonia and meningitis. This vaccine is given at 4 months, 6 months, and after 12 months.
6. Rotavirus Vaccine
As the name suggests, the rotavirus vaccine fights off rotavirus, a common cause of severe diarrhoea in babies. This oral vaccine is usually given at 2 months and 4 months.
7. Measles, Mumps, and Rubella Vaccine
This vaccine protects against measles, mumps, and rubella. This vaccine is given at a later stage, with first dose at 12 months and 2nd dose after 15 months.
Importance of Adhering to the Vaccination Schedule for Children in Singapore
You may be curious about the rationale behind the multitude of vaccines and their specific timing. The vaccination schedule is thoughtfully designed to safeguard your baby during their most vulnerable phases and before potential exposure to diseases. Adhering to the vaccination schedule for children guarantees that they receive protection at the appropriate stages.
Common Concerns and Misconceptions About Vaccines
There's a lot of information (and misinformation) out there, and it can cause worries. The truth is, vaccines are thoroughly tested for safety and effectiveness before they're approved. And once they're in use, they're continually monitored.
Vaccines can cause mild side effects like a low-grade fever or soreness at the injection site, but these are usually short-lived and far less severe than the diseases they protect against.
Preparing for a Vaccination Visit
The thought of taking your child for a vaccine can be stressful. A little preparation can go a long way here. Dress your baby in comfortable clothes, bring their favourite toy or blanket, and be ready to soothe them afterwards. And remember, it's okay to feel a bit nervous. You're doing an excellent job taking care of your little one!
In conclusion, this essential guide provides you with information about compulsory vaccination for babies in Singapore. If you're seeking vaccination services for them, you can visit the Little Cross Family Clinic. Our experienced paediatrician will guide you through the vaccination process and closely monitor your child for any potential vaccine-related side effects.