Everything you need to know about vaccinations in Singapore (Part 1)

By: Osler Health Team

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Posted on: 10 Aug 2021

Everything you need to know about vaccinations in Singapore (Part 1)

In part 1 of this article, we will discuss the recommended vaccinations in Singapore:

Routine vaccinations

Diphtheria/Tetanus/Pertussis (whooping cough) 

The DTaP vaccine can prevent diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis, which are potentially fatal bacterial diseases. Diphtheria and pertussis are contagious while tetanus enters the body through a wound or cut. 

  • Diphtheria can lead to difficulty breathing, heart and nerve damage, paralysis, or death.
  • Tetanus affects the brain and nervous system and causes muscle spasms, leading to serious health problems like being unable to open the mouth and having trouble swallowing and breathing.
  • Pertussis, also known as whooping cough, is a respiratory infection that causes intense and uncontrollable coughing spells and severe breathing problems, especially in babies and young children. 


Polio, or poliomyelitis, is a crippling and potentially fatal disease caused by the poliovirus. An infected person can develop severe physical disabilities due to muscle paralysis and deformities of the hips, ankles and feet. 

There is currently no cure for polio, but it can be prevented with the inactivated polio vaccine (IPV). The IPV is recommended for all children from 2 to 18 months of age. 

Haemophilus Influenzae Type B (Hib)* 

Haemophilus influenzae type B, or Hib, is a bacterium that causes Hib disease. Hib disease is an invasive bacterial infection that can cause meningitis, pneumonia, epiglottitis and infections of the blood, joints and bones. 

The Hib vaccine is usually administered in 3 or 4 doses, either as a standalone vaccine or a combination vaccine. The vaccine is recommended for all children under age 5. 

*Suitable for certain patients only – please discuss with your doctor 

Measles, Mumps & Rubella (MMR)

The measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine is recommended for all children. Measles, mumps and rubella are potentially life-threatening viral diseases. These diseases can be spread through direct contact with droplets from infected persons. 

  • Measles begins with cold-like symptoms like coughing, runny nose and fever. A skin rash follows 2-4 days later across the face, neck, limbs, palms and soles of the feet.  
  • Mumps primarily affect salivary glands located near the ears. The primary symptom of mumps is swollen salivary glands, which cause the cheeks to puff out. Other symptoms may include pain while chewing or swallowing, fever, muscle aches and loss of appetite.
  • Rubella, also known as German measles, causes mild fever and rash in infants and children. While this infection may cause mild symptoms in most people, it can cause severe complications like congenital disabilities in unborn babies whose mothers become infected during pregnancy.

Hepatitis B 

The Hepatitis B vaccine can prevent hepatitis B, a liver disease that can be spread through bodily fluids like blood and semen. A chronic hepatitis B infection can lead to liver damage, liver cancer and death. 

BCG (against Tuberculosis)

The BCG vaccine protects against tuberculosis, an infectious airborne disease caused by a bacteria called Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The bacteria usually attack the lungs and can also attack any part of the body, including the kidney, spine or brain.


Pneumococcal disease refers to any infection caused by a bacteria called Streptococcus pneumoniae, or pneumococcus. Pneumococcal infections include infections of the lung, ear, brain and blood.

There are two types of pneumococcal vaccines available: PCV13 and PPSV23. The PCV13 vaccine protects against 13 pneumococcal bacteria strains while the PPSV23 protects against 23 strains.


The Pfizer BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines have been assessed to meet safety and efficacy standards and authorised for use in Singapore. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have about 95% efficacy in preventing COVID-19 infection. You are recommended to get the COVID-19 vaccine if you don’t have any preexisting conditions that may make the vaccination inadvisable.

Recommended vaccinations


The rotavirus is highly contagious among infants and young children and can cause severe watery diarrhoea, vomiting, fever and abdominal pain. In the Asia-Pacific region, rotavirus is the most common cause of diarrhoea and dehydration in young children. 

The rotavirus vaccination is recommended for all infants before the age of 4 months.

*Suitable for certain patients only – please discuss with your doctor

Seasonal influenza

The seasonal influenza vaccine protects against three or four influenza viruses. Influenza, also known as the flu, is a highly contagious respiratory illness. It may cause severe complications in older people, young children and people with compromised immune systems. As Singapore is a global city with many travellers flying in and out regularly, it is recommended to have the flu vaccine every year.

Varicella (Chickenpox)

Chickenpox is a highly contagious disease caused by the varicella-zoster virus. Chickenpox is characterised by a blister-like rash accompanied by tiredness and fever.

Although varicella vaccinations are not compulsory in Singapore, it is recommended for children, healthcare workers and anyone who lives or works in environments where transmission can occur easily.

Human Papilloma Virus (HPV)*

The Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) is a very common virus that affects both men and women. There are over 100 strains of HPV, about 30 of which are transmitted through sexual contact and can affect the genitals, mouth or throat. Specific types of HPV can lead to the development of genital warts and cancers of the cervix, anus and throat.

The HPV vaccination is recommended for both males and females between 9 to 26 years old. If you wish to discuss your child receiving the HPV vaccine, please contact us.

*Suitable for certain patients only – please discuss with your doctor

Special situations

Meningococcal B

The MenB vaccine protects against infection by the meningococcal group B bacteria. Meningococcal infection is a leading cause of bacterial meningitis, or infection of the brain and spinal cord lining. 

Meningococcal C

The MenC vaccine protects against infection by the group C Neisseria meningitidis bacteria, the leading cause of bacterial meningitis worldwide.

If you need vaccination advice, please reach out to us for a consultation. Osler Health will be able to follow the vaccination schedule of your home country if required. You will also be able to access your vaccination data, as well as your children’s data, via the myOslerHealth app

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