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photo: scmp.com

MOH: Full subsidies for Singaporean children for vaccines to prevent disease outbreaks

Health Minister Mr Gan Kim Yong said that Ministry of Health (MOH) provides full subsidies at the polyclinics for children who are Singaporean citizens for vaccines that are recommended for preventing disease outbreaks in the community.

In the 13th Parliamentary session Miss Cheng Li Hui,  MP for Tampines GRC, has asked the Minister for Health:

  1. Whether the Ministry will consider extending the full subsidies for compulsory childhood immunisations recommended under the National Childhood Immunisation Programme for all children who are Singapore citizens at private GP clinics, and,
  2. Whether the Ministry will consider providing free immunisations against influenza, T-dap, pneumococcal pneumonia (both Pneumo23 and Pneumo13) and herpes zoster infections for elderly Singaporeans.

Health Minister Mr Gan Kim Yong responded in his written reply to Miss Cheng, wrote that MOH is guided by the Expert Committee on Immunisation (ECI)’s recommendations, in deciding on the use of Medisave and provision of subsidies. Medisave use is allowed for all recommended vaccinations.

MOH also provide full subsidies at the polyclinics for children who are Singaporean citizens for vaccines that are recommended for preventing disease outbreaks in the community, such as the compulsory childhood vaccinations for measles and diphtheria, the Minister wrote.

The Health Minister stated, currently, every Singapore citizen baby receives a $4,000 government grant in their Medisave accounts. This grant can be used for medical expenses, and all vaccinations under the National Childhood Immunisation Schedule (NCIS).

There are also other government measures, such as the Baby Bonus scheme, which can also be used for NCIS vaccinations, including at accredited private GP and paediatrician clinics. Through Medisave and the Baby Bonus, the cost of these vaccinations is thus fully supported by Government even at private clinics.

Answering the second question, Mr Gan wrote that Medisave can be used for influenza and Pneumo23 vaccines recommended for high-risk groups, such as the elderly and suffering from chronic diseases, while based on the ECI’s advice in August 2016, MOH is currently reviewing the use of Medisave for the Pneumo13 vaccine.

In addition, subsidies for influenza have been extended to Singaporeans who are subsidised residents in nursing homes, but the ECI does not recommend diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus and herpes zoster vaccinations for the elderly.

MOH will continue to review its vaccination policies based on professional inputs from the ECI, to ensure accessibility and affordability for Singaporeans, wrote Mr Gan.