Child Immunization Guide for Parents

Infants and children face many potential dangers from various infectious diseases in the first few years of their lives. Children who fall sick often miss out on learning opportunities and playtime and can affect their overall growth and development. One of the major common factors to improvement in child health is the availability of vaccines.

Learn about some common vaccines that are available for children and how they can help to keep your child healthy.

DTPa-IPV/HiB/HBV (6-in-1 Vaccine)
Protect against:
Infections that are potentially life threatening:

-Diphtheria: Affects the throat and is often complicated by toxic damage to the heart and peripheral nerves. It is fatal in 5-10% of the patients, even if properly treated.

-Tetanus: Caused by the neurotoxin produced by the bacteria that grow in dirty wounds. This results in muscle spasms, especially of the jaw, causing difficulty in breathing. Generalized seizures may follow with death eventually ensues.

-Pertussis (Whooping Cough): A disease of the respiratory tract. The baby will have coughing spells that may last for 4-8 weeks and may end up in death.

-Poliomyelitis: Caused by poliovirus via the faecal-oral route. Children get the infection when they ingest contaminated food or drink. Poor environmental hygiene is a risk factor. The virus attacks the nerves, resulting in a crippling condition.

-Haemophilus Influenza Type B: It is spread by respiratory droplets and causes severe pneumonia, meningitis, ear infection and other serious infections. It is most common in children under 5 years old.

-Hepatitis B

No. of doses: 3 (to be completed by 6 months preferably)

When to take:
Minimum age is 6 weeks old. Generally, it is given at 2, 4 and 6 months old.

DTPa-IPV/HiB (5-in-1 Vaccine)
Protect against:
See 6-in-1 (excludes Hepatitis B)

No. of doses: 1

When to take:
This is usually given as a booster to the 6-in-1 at 18 months of age.
In a baby who has opted to give the HBV separately, this 5-in-1 vaccine is given at 3, 4 and 5 months of age.

HAV (Hepatitis A Vaccine)
Protect against:
Hepatitis A: An infection of the liver that is spread by ingesting contaminated food or drink. Children may present with fever, jaundice, headache and tiredness.

No. of doses: 2

When to take:
Minimum age of vaccination is 1 year old.

HBV (Hepatitis B Vaccine)

Protect against:
Hepatitis B: Transmitted through contact with blood and other body fluids of an infected person. Newborn can be infected if the mother is a Hepatitis B carrier. Rates of new infection and acute disease are highest among adults, but chronic infection is more likely to occur in persons infected as infants or young children.
Chronically infected persons are at increased lifetime risk for liver hardening (cirrhosis) and liver cancer and also serve as the main reservoir for continued HBV transmission. Hence Hepatitis B vaccination remains a very effective way in preventing liver cirrhosis and cancer.

No. of doses: 3

When to take:
1st dose is usually given soon after birth, before baby is discharged from hospital. 2nd and 3rd doses can be given as part of the 6-in-1 vaccine.

For baby born to a mother who is a Hepatitis carrier, the 2nd dose should be given at 1 month old and the 3rd dose can be given as part of the 6-in-1 vaccine at 6-months old.

Re-vaccination may be necessary if blood test done between 9-12 months old does not show adequate antibody level in the baby.

Influenza Vaccine
Protect against:
Influenza: A viral infection that causes chills, fever, sore throat, muscle pains, severe headache, coughing and fatigue. It is often confused with the common cold, but influenza is a more severe disease.

No. of doses: 1 or 2 (Do not give your child the vaccine if your child is allergic to eggs.

When to take:
Minimum age is 6 months old.

Vaccine is recommended annually for all children aged 6 months to <5 years and children aged 6 months to <18 years in high-risk groups

Previously unvaccinated children under the age of 9 years will require 2 doses given at least one month apart. Children 9 years and above will require a single dose of the vaccine.

The vaccine will not protect you against the common cold, even though some of the symptoms are similar to flu.

MMRV Vaccine
Protect against:
-Measles: The most contagious vaccine-preventable infection in humans. It is spread by respiratory droplets. Symptoms include fever, cough, running nose and a rash. Complications: Seizures, ear infection, pneumonia, brain infection and death.

-Mumps: An inflammation of the salivary glands, which presents as swelling and pain over the angle of the jaws, with fever, headache and muscle ache. Complications: deafness, brain infection and sterility.

-Rubella (German measles): It is spread by respiratory droplets but may also be present in urine and faeces. Children presents with fever and rash with swelling of the neck lymph nodes. If pregnant women catch the infection, it may result in birth defects.

-Varicella (Chickenpox): A highly contagious infection that is spread via respiratory droplets and direct contact with the secretions from the blisters. Complications include pneumonia and brain damage.

No. of doses: 2

When to take:
Measles vaccination is compulsory by law in Singapore. From the 1st December 2011, the Ministry of Health has changed its recommendation to giving the first dose at 12 months old and the booster dose at 15 months old.

*Do not give your child the vaccine if your child is allergic to eggs.

There is no scientific basis for any link between MMR and autism.

If you are giving your child Chickenpox vaccine separately, your child will need 2 doses, 3 months apart.

Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine
Protect against:
Pneumococcal diseases: A group of serious infections that affects children under 5 years old. It is most prevalent under the age of 2 years in Singapore. The bacterium is often carried in the nose and throat of healthy adults and children. It is transmitted via respiratory droplets and can cause meningitis, severe pneumonia, middle ear infection and blood infection. These infections can develop and progress quickly to fatality.

No. of doses: 3+1

When to take:
3 doses should be given before the first birthday. 1 booster dose is given after 12 months old with a minimum interval of 8 weeks from the previous dose.

Catch-up vaccination is recommended for all children who are previously unimmunised in the following categories:

Previously unvaccinated children between 7-12 months of age:
2 doses for the primary series and 1 booster dose (at 12-24 months of age) should be given. The recommended interval between first and second dose is 8 weeks, with a minimum interval of 4 weeks. The minimum interval between second dose of the primary series and the booster dose is 8 weeks.

Previously unvaccinated children between 12 to 23 months of age:
2 doses of PCV should be given with a minimum interval of 8 weeks between doses.

Supplemental pneumococcal vaccination with PCV13 is recommended for children who have either started or completed pneumococcal vaccination with the 7-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV7). PCV13 contains seven serotypes included in PCV7 plus six additional serotypes.

Rotavirus Vaccine
Protect against:
Rotavirus: The most common cause of severe diarrhea and vomiting in infants and young children. 98% of all children are infected with rotavirus at least once by the age of 5 years. It is the leading cause of diarrhoeal hospitalization in Singapore.

No. of doses: 2 (Interval between the 2 doses is 8 weeks

When to take:
This vaccine is given orally. Minimum age is 6 weeks old, and has to be completed by 8 months old.

BCG (Bacillus Calmette-Guérin)
Protect against:
Tuberculosis: Vaccine is prepared from a strain of the attenuated (weakened) live bovine tuberculosis bacillus that has lost its virulence in humans.

No. of doses: 1

When to take:
Soon after birth, usually before baby is discharged from hospital.

HPV Vaccine (Human Papillomavirus Vaccine)
Protect against:
Human Papillomavirus (HPV): A virus that can cause pre-cancerous and cancerous lesions in the cervix of the women’s womb. The vaccine is intended to protect females against these diseases.

No. of doses: 3

When to take:
Recommended for females 9 to 26 years; three doses are required.
1st dose: Chosen date
2nd dose: 1 month later
3rd dose: 6 months from first dose
Alternative schedule is 0, 2 and 6 months

Schedules of the various immunizations may defer slightly as preferred by different doctors. For more information, please speak to your doctors.

Common side effects of the vaccines include fever, irritability, loss of appetite and local swelling at injection sites. If your child has an underlying medical condition, please inform your doctor prior to the vaccination.

If your baby misses a dose of the vaccine, contact your doctor to arrange for the dose to be given as soon as possible. There is no need to re-start the whole schedule.

Adapted from: SBCC Paediatric


About Rei

A mother of 2 who loves travel, food, shopping, face mask and Sale!
This entry was posted in Articles, Parent & Baby and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Child Immunization Guide for Parents

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