With the pandemic in full swing, Singaporeans are increasingly concerned about their health and well being.
However, besides getting enough sleep, eating healthy food and exercising, many might not realise that getting vaccinated should also be part of an individual’s healthy lifestyle.
Importance of vaccinations
Explaining the importance of respiratory vaccinations, infectious diseases specialist at Farrer Park Hospital, Loh Jiashen, told Mothership:
“A high influenza vaccination rate allows us to enjoy a greater barrier of safety on a societal level as the country reopens and restrictions are lifted. We want to be in a position that when we lift restrictions, we have a well-vaccinated population that would not create a rebound in preventable respiratory diseases, like influenza.”
Loh added that during a pandemic, healthcare resources are limited, thus, preventing preventable disease and hospitalizations through vaccinations is important.
Influenza increases the risk of pneumonia. Streptococcus pneumoniae is a common bacteria that causes pneumococcal pneumonia.
He recounted the most severe case of pneumococcal pneumonia that he has seen:
“I have published a case of pneumococcal pneumonia in which a middle-aged person developed severe pneumonia in need of ICU care. His infection also affected the heart valves, which subsequently resulted in multiple strokes. He demised despite our best efforts.”
However, the good news is that the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine is 75 per cent effective against invasive pneumococcal disease, according to Loh.
It is not the only respiratory vaccine we should take note of, though.
Here’s a look at the respiratory vaccinations recommended by the Ministry of Health’s (MOH) National Adult Immunisation Schedule (NAIS):
- Influenza (one dose annually or per season)
- Pneumococcal conjugate (PCV13) (one dose)
- Pneumococcal polysaccharide (PPSV23) (one dose)
According to Health Hub, influenza vaccination helps to prevent influenza, also known as flu, a common infection caused by Influenza virus types A and B.
It is recommended for everyone, especially individuals who are at high risk of developing influenza complications such as the elderly, aged 65 years and older.
On the other hand, pneumococcal vaccines help to prevent pneumococcal disease caused by the bacteria streptococcus pneumonia.
Pneumococcal disease includes infection of the lungs (pneumonia), ear (otitis media), brain (meningitis), blood (bacteremia) and other serious infections.
More severe than the common cold
Loh emphasised that pneumococcal disease is more severe than the common cold, and said that patients who are infected with an invasive pneumococcal disease face a mortality rate of 20 to 30 per cent.
He also pointed out that the older and more frail a person is, the more likely the pneumonia will be severe.
Thus, the elderly aged 65 years and above are encouraged to receive one dose each of PCV13 and PPSV23.
For those wondering, the numbers 13 and 23 refer to the number of pneumococcal serotypes the vaccine covers, which are the ones that are most likely to cause diseases.
Vaccinations necessary for those who are healthy
Loh also emphasised that vaccinations are methods of prevention and are “definitely necessary” for those who are healthy.
Not only can it prevent the disease, Loh said, but a vaccinated person is also less likely to transmit an illness that was avoided in the first place.
Those thinking of getting themselves or their loved ones vaccinated will be happy to know that various subsidies are available.
CHAS GP Clinics
From Nov. 2020, Singaporeans will benefit from higher subsidies of between S$35 to S$125 for nationally-recommended vaccinations listed on the Subsidised Vaccine List (SVL) administered at CHAS GP clinics.
Eligible Singaporeans need only pay the following amounts for the range of nationally recommended vaccinations at CHAS GP clinics, after government subsidies:
- Eligible Singaporean children: S$0
- Eligible Pioneer Generation cardholders: capped at S$9 to S$16 per vaccination dose
- Eligible Merdeka Generation, CHAS Blue and Orange cardholders: capped at S$18 to S$31 per vaccination dose
- Other eligible adult Singaporeans: capped at S$35 to S$63 per vaccination dose
At the polyclinics, adult Singaporeans will receive up to 75 per cent subsidy for NAIS vaccinations.
Pioneer Generation and Merdeka Generation seniors will also receive an additional 50 per cent and 25 per cent subsidy from their subsidised vaccination bills respectively.
Prices after government subsidies are expected to be similar to those at the CHAS GP clinics.
In celebration of World Immunisation Week, gift yourself and your loved ones the gift of protection. Learn more about where to get vaccinated for pneumococcal vaccinations here.
Do note that Covid-19 vaccines should be administered 14 days before or after any other vaccines, Loh recommends.
You can also check out this video about protecting your loved ones from pneumonia:
The expert opinion shared by Dr Loh is independent of Pfizer. This piece is for educational purposes only, and it should not substitute professional medical advice or consultations with your healthcare professionals (HCP). Please do reach out to your HCP for more information.
Top photo by Zhangxin Zheng
This sponsored article in collaboration with Pfizer Pte Ltd made the writer feel thankful for our healthcare system.