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Vaccination in Singapore

03 Apr 2020

As an expatriate, vaccination in Singapore can quickly slip through our fingers. Are we going to travel or stay? Are all vaccinations recommended in Asia necessary or mandatory? What about my children? With vaccines at significant prices, Singapore still has expert polyclinics where you can get all your vaccinations. You will therefore find the price of vaccines such as flu or pneumonia vaccines, as well as the age and frequency at which they should be given.

Vaccines in Singapore

Mandatory vaccines for your expatriation

Compulsory vaccinations to obtain a Dependent Pass (DP, for wives and children of Employment Pass holders). Since 2019, the Ministry of Health (MOH) has made two vaccines mandatory for obtaining an DP. There are many requirements to obtain a Visa in Singapore. If you would like to know all the requirements to obtain a Visa for Singapore, please click here. These vaccinations are for expatriate children born outside and inside Singapore:
– Diphtheria
– Measles
If these vaccinations have not been given before the age of two, no visa will be granted. They must therefore be administered in your country of origin and be visible on your health record.
How to find a specialist doctor to take care of vaccinations and health monitoring for your newborn baby.

For adults, vaccination against yellow fever is a prerogative under condition necessary for the reception of your Visa. All expatriates coming from a certain number of countries in Africa or America must have had this injection :

Africa : Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Togo, Uganda.

Americas : Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, French Guiana, Panama, Peru, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.

However, there are other constraints to be aware of before moving to Singapore. We give you here the reflexes to have to make your expatriation in the Lion City successful.

Compulsory vaccinations for you children schooling

Please note that although there are a limited number of vaccinations required for expatriation to Singapore, the vaccination your children has gotten can greatly influence your child’s schooling. Here you can access an article that will help you plan your maternity in Singapore. 11 vaccinations are compulsory (including Diphtheria and Measles) for your child’s enrolment in nursery and primary school :

Tuberculosis (BCG)
Tuberculosis is an infectious, airborne disease. It is estimated that one third of the world is infected with the bacteria that cause tuberculosis without even knowing it. However, the immune system is able to fight it and eliminate its effects. Children should be vaccinated, as they have a weak immune system. The vaccine is called Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG).

Pertussis (DTaP)
Pertussis is a respiratory disease attacking the bronchial tubes and trachea. This disease has no serious consequences for an adult person. In children it is a more severe case, which can lead to pulmonary or neurological disorders, and can be fatal in some cases. There are approximately 300,000 deaths related to whooping cough every year according to the WHO. You can protect yourself from this disease with the Acellular Pertussis Vaccine (DTaP).

Tetanus (DTaP)
Tetanus is a non-communicable disease. The bacterium gets into all types of wounds (bite, puncture, cuts…) and paralyses the victim. Muscle paralysis can lead to asphyxiation in more than 50% of cases. There is no specific remedy and upon infection, the infected will require intensive care. In order to prevent this disease, a vaccine is mandatory in Singapore, the Diphtheria and Tetanus Pediatric Natoxins and Acellular Pertussis Vaccine (DTaP).

Diphtheria (DTaP)
Diphtheria is a bacterial infection that causes breathing difficulties, even asphyxiation of the infected person. It is an extremely contagious disease that is transmitted by coughing or sneezing. According to the WHO, the diphtheria vaccine prevents 2 to 3 million deaths per year.

Mumps (MMR)
Mumps mostly affect children and are transmitted orally and physically (sputtering, sneezing and objects of all kinds). They result in a swelling of the salivary glands as well as a sharp pain in the throat. The infected usually recovers on their own after two weeks but can lead to complications in some cases, such as meningitis or permanent deafness. The vaccine to prevent mumps is MMR (Rubella, Mumps and Measles).

Rubella (MMR)
Rubella is a highly contagious disease that is transmitted through the air. It affects more than 100,000 babies each year according to the WHO. Despite the fact that it does not cause any serious complications, rubella can be transmitted to the fetus, creating many disorders: deafness, heart defects, growth retardation or even fetal death. The MMR vaccine prevents not only Rubella but also Mumps and Measles.

Measles (MMR)
This virus still infects 20 million people each year, despite the WHO recommendation for a vaccine. Those mainly affected are children under 5 years of age. They suffer from cough, fever, runny nose, sore throat and the appearance of red spots (hence the name of the disease).

Poliomyelitis (IPV and OPV)
Polio is a contagious disease, affecting mainly children under 5 years of age. There is no treatment for polio other than reducing symptoms with muscle relaxants. A person may develop paralysis years after being affected by the disease and even after being treated. This is why it is so important to be vaccinated with the Injected and Oral Polio Vaccine (IPV and OPV).

Hepatitis B (HepB)
Hepatitis B is a chronic hepatitis that is transmitted through blood, saliva or semen. It is a serious disease that can lead to medical complications. It attacks the liver, a vital organ in humans. Cancers, neurological complications or liver failure can result from Hepatitis B. According to the WHO, 90% of infected children develop chronic disorders. Cohabitation with an infected person, exchange of razors or toothbrushes, unprotected sexual intercourse or transmission during childbirth are the main causes of infection. It is therefore necessary, and often mandatory, to be vaccinated against Hepatitis.

Pneumococcal Disease (PCV)
This is meningitis attacking the lung that is very difficult to detect from a bacterium. It occurs in people with low immunity and children are the main victims. Immunity against pneumococcus begins at the age of 5 years and can lead to otitis or pneumonia. The Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine (PCV) provides effective prevention against the bacteria. This vaccine helps fight many cases of pneumonia.

Haemophilus Influenza B (Hib)
This is another case of bacterial meningitis. It causes ear infections, sinusitis or bronchitis and particularly affects children under 5 years of age. With a non-existent or very weak immune system against this bacteria, the vaccine has been made compulsory in Singapore and provides effective prevention against this bacteria. The Hib (Haemophilus Influenzae type B vaccine) is an effective means.

Government recommended vaccines for expatriates in Singapore

Singapore is an internationally renowned health capital. However, certain vaccinations are recommended by the government and health infrastructure to ensure your health on a daily basis :

Influenza is a well-known disease. Extremely contagious, it rarely leads to complications in adults. More restrictive than dangerous, it is never very pleasant. Elderly people and children may be more severely affected and develop certain physical problems such as pneumonia. It can be useful to be vaccinated to prevent any eventuality.

This is the virus that causes gastroenteritis in children and young adults. It often results in stomach cramps, nausea and vomiting. During a stay in certain high-risk continent such as Asia. Despite its reputation as a benign disease, it can be fatal or severely damage the kidneys. 1.5 to 2.5 million people die from it each year.

It is a very common virus that comes in more than 150 types. Its symptoms are responsible for skin lesions, such as vulgar, plantar or genital warts. They can lead to skin or cervical cancer.

Varicella is a highly contagious disease that occurs in late winter and early spring. It is spread through the air or through physical contact with infected people. Varicella is characterized by the appearance of small red pimples and severe itching. Complications can occur for babies, pregnant women and people with weakened immune systems.

Vaccines recommended by health authorities and guides for travel outside Singapore

In order to guarantee everyone’s health, the prevention of certain illnesses is essential for travels to Asian countries:

Hepatitis A
Hepatitis A is a disease that is transmitted through human feces. It is found in contaminated water, food that has been contaminated by touching or growing on contaminated land (vegetables or seafood) and on the hands. There are certain risk areas such as canteens, hospitals, dental centres. The virus spreads in places with questionable hygiene. The vaccine is the only way to prevent hepatitis A, no medication can cure this disease. It is therefore strongly recommended when travelling to countries where health standards may be questioned.

Japanese encephalitis
Japanese encephalitis is a disease that can be transmitted by mosquito bites. Fatal in 25% of cases, it is strongly recommended to get the vaccine as a preventive measure for future trips to Asia.

Typhoid Fever
Typhoid Fever is transmitted through human or animal faeces. It is present in countries where sanitation processes are not optimal. With consequences that can lead to death, it is usually cured within a week if the disease can be diagnosed quickly. This is not a pleasant experience that is best avoided, a vaccine is available for travel to countries bordering Singapore.

Rabies is transmitted from animals to humans by biting or scratching. It is highly recommended to be vaccinated as a means of prevention in case of departure to Singapore or any trip to Asia. Animals such as monkeys, bats or dogs are major contaminants. However, rodents cannot transmit this disease. In case of contamination, multiple injections must be performed as soon as possible, which implies a break in your trip in a nearby hospital.

Prices of vaccines in Singapore

It is important to bear in mind that the price of a vaccination includes 3 determining elements:

1. The consultation fees
2. The price of the vaccine itself
3. The cost of administering the vaccine

Prices may be slightly modified depending on the polyclinic, hospital or general practitioner you consult. In Singapore vaccines can be expensive, so it’s important to know what role your insurance will play in vaccination.
Here are the average prices listed by disease to be vaccinated obligatorily or under recommendation in Singapore :

Influenza : 30 SGD
Typhoid : 30 SGD
Tetanus : 37 SGD
Measles : 40 SGD
Diphtheria : 70 SGD
Varicella : 72 SGD
Rotavirus : 95 SGD
Poliomyelitis : 100 SGD
Polio : 100 SGD
Hepatitis A : 142 SGD
Pneumococcal disease : 150 SGD
Hepatitis B : 159 SGD
Yellow Fever : 164 SGD
Japanese encephalitis : 350 SGD
Rabies : 510 SGD

These are the prices of vaccinations in Singapore listed before tax and includes all injections and booster shots of each vaccine. This allows you to have a global idea of the cost of vaccines and to compare with those in your country of origin. If you want a better understanding of the vaccines prices in Singapore, click here.
Some vaccines can be very expensive in Singapore, such as the price of rabies vaccine. The cost of vaccination can be significant. Therefore, it may be wise to cover your child from birth to prevent future or unexpected liabilities in Singapore.

Age and vaccination reminders

Singapore’s National Childhood Immunization Schedule lists all mandatory and recommended childhood injections. It is useful in representing the number of vaccines as well as the spacing of each. It will give you a clear idea of your child’s future immunisations in Singapore. For expatriates, we remind you that only Diphtheria and Measles vaccinations are mandatory for obtaining a Visa. The rest of the vaccines can be administered upon your arrival in Singapore. What is the health process for children in Singapore?

Singapore’s National Adult Immunization Schedule lists all the vaccines recommended by the Singapore government and health authorities. It gives you the full set of injections as well as age-specific or special case recommendations, such as which vaccines are recommended for low immunity.

To find out more about healthcare topics in Singapore you can check our articles. To understand how your health insurance plans cover the healthcare costs, you can approach UEX’s happiness team by email for more information and guidance – and the good news is that they are super nice!

With UEX, you can obtain a quote for both AXA and APRIL health insurance contracts customized to your needs and requirements – all in less than a minute!

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