When you think about a healthy lifestyle, eating well and exercising more are probably the first two things that come to mind. However, vaccinations also play a key role in keeping you safe and well. Vaccinations prevent us from falling seriously ill and also limit the spread of diseases across the community.
Most side effects from vaccinations are mild and shouldn’t be a cause for concern. We answer a few frequently asked questions about vaccines, so that you can get vaccinated with peace of mind.
How do vaccines work?
Vaccines work by exposing your immune system to an infection, so that your body learns how to fight off these intruders. There are many ways of developing vaccines. A common type of vaccine is one that contains an inactivated form of the virus.
When your body encounters any virus, your immune system produces antibodies to fend off the infection. These antibodies remain in you, even after the infection is gone. As such, vaccines teach your body how to recognise and fight off these infections. In this way, when you actually do encounter the real live virus, your body will know how to fend it off more effectively and keep you well.
Are vaccinations safe?
Yes, all vaccines that are used in Singapore have been approved by the Ministry of Health.
Additionally, vaccines are recommended because the risks of getting infected by a virus outweighs the risk of immunisation. For example, measles causes death in 2 out of 1,000 infected individuals, but a severe allergic reaction from the vaccine develops only in 1 out of a million individuals.
What about side effects?
Side effects from vaccines do happen, but they shouldn’t be a cause for concern. Most side effects are often temporary and mild, such as headaches, low-grade fever, or soreness at the injection site.
If you have a history of allergies, do let your doctor know before you get vaccinated. Some vaccines, such as the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine, may trigger an allergic reaction — however, your healthcare professional will advice you on how to manage this.
Why is it important to be vaccinated?
Vaccinations are important because they’re one of the most effective ways of preventing serious illness, even if you do fall ill. This is especially important for children, as their immune systems are still developing and they may require additional protection from a range of diseases.
Additionally, vaccination is not just only for individuals, it’s also important for the community. When enough people are vaccinated, herd immunity is achieved. This means reduces the likelihood of an infection spreading through the community and keeps the healthcare system from being overwhelmed.
What about for pregnant women or people with health conditions?
Most vaccinations are safe for pregnant women. Vaccines not only protects the mother but can offer protection for her baby as well.
Vaccinations are also beneficial for individuals with pre-existing health conditions, such as diabetes or a heart condition. When you have a chronic condition, it can be harder for your body to fight off diseases naturally. As such, vaccinations bolster your immune system, to keep you well.
That said, do consult your healthcare provider before you get vaccinated. You should not be getting vaccinated with vaccines contain live viruses if you are pregnant or have a pre-existing health condition.
What are recommended vaccinations we should get?
The Ministry of Health has issued the National Childhood Immunisation Schedule and National Adult Immunisation Schedule, which details age-banded recommended vaccinations. Do ensure that you get vaccinated according to the recommended frequency, so that you can ensure you continue to stay protected by your vaccinations.
Why do we need a new dose of flu vaccine every year?
Unlike other pathogens, the flu viruses are particularly adept at changing their appearance. As a result, your body may not be able to recognise new strains nor fight them off as effectively. The influenza vaccine is recommended yearly as researchers continually develop new vaccines, based on the new strains that emerge each flu season.
Getting vaccinated is convenient with Doctor Anywhere. Do your vaccination at any of our 9 islandwide DA clinics or book an appointment for a home-based vaccination. Find out more about our vaccination services on our wellness Marketplace.