Committee of Supply Debate, Ministry of Health, 12 March 2015
The National Childhood Immunisation Schedule (NCIS) lists seven vaccinations against infectious diseases for children under 18 months. All are free at polyclinics, except the pneumococcal disease vaccination.
Although Medisave and the Child Development Account can be used to pay for it, these have alternative uses. Some parents may decide against this vaccination if they have to pay, especially if they are not aware of the dangers of this disease. It is the leading infectious cause of death in children worldwide, and can cause deafness, brain damage, paralysis and even death. There were 146 cases diagnosed last year in Singapore.
Can the Minister share what percentage of children above 2 years have been immunised against pneumococcal disease?
Why is pneumococcal disease on the NCIS as recommended by the Expert Committee on Immunisation, but not provided for free? Making it free could encourage a higher take up rate and build up herd immunity against the disease, which occurs only when a significant portion of a population is immunised.