Do vaccines given differ from country to country?
Do the vaccines given in Singapore vary significantly from other countries? Dr Ang Ai Tin shares her insights on childhood immunizations.
Question from reader:
Do the vaccines given in Singapore vary significantly to those given in other countries? I am moving overseas in a few months and I would like to understand what my children requires.
Answer from Dr Ang Ai Tin:
Each country has its own vaccination practices and schedules depending on the location, healthcare system and prevalence of various illnesses and diseases.
In Singapore, vaccinations fall under the National Immunisation Registry and an expert committee on Immunisation, comprising of Ministry of Health senior officials, consultant paediatricians and experts in communicable disease. Both of these groups are responsible for reviewing the vaccination programmes in Singapore and advising on the necessary vaccinations for children.
It is worthwhile to note that the “active ingredient” contained in each vaccine differs by geographical location. This is due to the different disease strains in prevalent in different countries. For example, flu vaccines in the southern and northern hemispheres differ due to the prevalence of certain strains in different areas.
It is best to seek the advice of your paediatrician or family doctor if you are moving to another country about the different vaccinations required by you and your family.
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.