By Stanislaus Marie Ee
(Republished here as this letter, “Same jabs, different costs” cannot be found on ST Forum)
We reproduce here the unedited version of Mr Stanislaus’s letter.
The Bill More Painful Than The Influenza Jab
After a medical appointment at SGH on 26/11/13 the attending doctor told my wife that it was advisable for senior citizens to get vaccinated against the seasonal flu. She took the advice and was given a flu jab. The jab cost $6.50.
She was also advised to return 4 weeks after the flu jab to be vaccinated against Pneumococcal infection. The doctor said that the Pneumococcal vaccine that was currently used at SGH was the latest in the market and it provided a 10 year protection against Pneumococcal infection. The older vaccine was effective for 5 years.
Being a senior, I too decided to get a flu jab. The next day, 27/11/13, I went to Sengkang Polyclinic for the jab and was surprised to be charged $25. When I told the nurse that SGH charged $6.50 for a flu jab, she didn’t quite believe me. I asked the nurse the cost for a Pneumococcal jab and was told $68.30. She said that the vaccine in use was effective against Pneumococcal infection for 5 years. SGH charges $61.70 for a Pneumococcal jab that is effective for 10 years. At Sengkang Polyclinic one would need 2 jabs 5 years apart to be immunized for 10 years. This will cost $136.60 compared to SGH’s $61.70.
Why is there such a huge difference in cost for the flu and pneumococcal vaccines, $6.50 and $25, and $$61.70 and $136.60?
Would appreciate comments from the Ministry of Health.