Question from reader:
Are vaccinations mandatory? Can I opt out of it?
Answer from Dr Ang Ai Tin:
Vaccinations are important to a child’s health as they help to prevent a number of serious diseases over their life time. Studies have shown that immunizations save lives and they also help to protect other children by stopping the spread of disease.
By law, there are a number of vaccinations that are compulsory for children to recieve. Diptheria must be completed before a child turns one year old whilst measles must be completed before they turn two. Vaccines against diphtheria and measles is the responsibility of the parent or guardian of the child.
When a child registers for primary school in Singapore, he or she also needs to be vaccinated against a variety of infectious diseases such as BCG, pertussis, tetanus, poliomyelitis, mumps, rubella and hepatitis B.
In addition to these compulsory vaccinations, there are several optional vaccinations against other serious (and sometimes fatal) diseases such as pneumococcal disease. Although these vaccinations are not mandatory, it is recommended that your child receives the best protection possible against potentially fatal diseases.
In Singapore, the National Immunisation Registry monitors and ensures each child receives their vaccines at the appropriate time, and reminds parent or guardians when vaccinations are due.
Before making any decisions about opting out of vaccination, you should speak with your paediatrician or family doctor to understand the risks associated with this.
Answered By Dr Ang Ai Tin
About Dr Ang Ai Tin
Dr Ang Ai Tin has been a practicing Consultant Paediatrician and Neonatologist for the last 23 years. She graduated from National University of Singapore in 1981, and earned her Masters in Paediatrics from the same university in 1987. After leaving KKH in 1991, she started her private practice at the Paediatric Centre at Thomson Medical Centre. She was the Medical Director of Paediatric Centre, a multi-group practice at Thomson Medical Centre with branches at Mt Alvernia Hospital, Bishan Children Clinic, Tiong Bahru Children Clinic, Hougang and Sengkang. She has since relinquished that post. She is now based at Thomson Paediatric Centre at Thomson Medical Centre. Besides Neonatology, the centre has a busy practice in Vaccine, Respiratory, Immunology and Allergy, and Growth and Nutrition.
Dr Ang’s subspecialty is neonatal intensive care, that is, she looks after sick newborn in the ICU. She also holds a diploma in Dermatology (NUS). Her interest includes paediatric dermatology and is laser certified to treat paediatric dermatological conditions.