Vaccinations are a key part of preventing illnesses — and that’s why we’re always on the lookout for more effective vaccines that can better protect our health.
One such example is the new Pneumococcal Conjugate (PCV20) vaccine, which has just been approved for use in Singapore. In fact, Singapore is the first country in Asia where this new pneumococcal vaccine will be used!
Dr Andrew Fang, one of our doctors, answers a few questions on the pneumococcal vaccines, and explains what makes the PCV20 vaccine more effective than the existing pneumococcal vaccinations in Singapore.
Why should we get the pneumococcal vaccination?
“The pneumococcal vaccine protects you against a bacteria known as Streptococcus pneumoniae,” says Dr Andrew. “This bacteria can cause a range of infections, including pneumonia (a lung infection), meningitis (infection of your brain lining), and even sinus or middle-ear infections.”
“If left unchecked, these infections can lead to serious complications and even death,” shares Dr Andrew. By getting the pneumococcal vaccine, we reduce the risk of infection, so that we can avoid any unnecessary health complications.
Who should get the pneumococcal vaccine?
While the pneumococcal vaccine can be administered for generally everyone, there are certain individuals that would benefit most from its protection.
“Following the Ministry of Health’s recommendations, very young children and seniors above the age of 65 are encouraged to get the pneumococcal vaccine,” says Dr Andrew.
Specifically for the new PCV20 vaccine, PCV20 has been approved for use in adults, including the elderly or those with lower immunity. The PCV20 vaccine is currently not for use in children; you can opt for the other two available pneumococcal vaccines in Singapore: PCV13 and PPSV23.
Is pneumococcal vaccination compulsory?
The pneumococcal vaccination is not a compulsory vaccination in Singapore. “However, it’s strongly recommended that the elderly and young children get vaccinated, to reduce the risk of infection,” says Dr Andrew.
What is the difference between PCV20 compared to the existing pneumococcal vaccines?
Currently, there are two other types of pneumococcal vaccines in Singapore: PCV13 and PPSV23. These are CHAS-subsidised vaccinations (should you meet the eligibility criteria set out by MOH).
“Compared to PCV13 and PPSV23, the PCV20 vaccine has two main advantages.”
“Firstly, the PCV20 vaccine covers a wider range of bacteria strains, making it more effective. The vaccine also stimulates a stronger immune response in your body, which means you’re better protected against infection,” says Dr Andrew.
“Secondly, the PCV20 vaccine is more convenient for you,” shares Dr Andrew. “You only need a single shot of PCV20 to be vaccinated.” This is in comparison to the other vaccination schedule, where you’ll need to do one shot of PCV13 followed by another shot of PPSV23 a year later.
“Because it’s only one shot, it’s also a lot easier for seniors to get vaccinated.”
Is the PCV20 safe?
“Currently PCV20 has only been approved for use in adults in Singapore,” says Dr Andrew. “It is as safe as the other existing pneumococcal vaccines.”
As with other vaccinations, you may experience some mild side effects with PCV20. This includes some tiredness or muscle pain, swelling at where you’d been injected at, and maybe a slight fever. “These side effects should go away within a few days, and shouldn’t be a cause for concern,” reassures Dr Andrew.
With Doctor Anywhere, you can book an appointment to get vaccinated with the PCV20 vaccine at any of our DA clinics or in the comfort of home. Simply head over to DA Marketplace to make your booking for an in-clinic appointment or a home-based appointment.