Did you know that MMR vaccination is compulsory in childhood here in Singapore?
Having your children vaccinated with MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) is the best way to prevent them from acquiring measles. Measles is a highly contagious viral infection which is the leading cause of death in children all over the world. The MMR vaccine is ideally given in childhood, as it helps promote immunity against measles as well as mumps and rubella (German measles).
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The reason why MMR vaccination is ideal in childhood is that vaccinated individuals are considered protected for life against measles, as well as the other two viral infections, when they are given the vaccine at the appropriate age in childhood.
It is Compulsory for Children to be Given MMR Vaccination in Singapore
The rate of measles infection has seen a steady rise in Europe in recent months, hitting a record of 41,000 cases reported from January to June of this year. This number has doubled its record in 2017. The rapid surge in the number of cases is due to the low vaccination rates in countries affected. This situation began after British researcher Andrew Wakefield released his study in 1998, pointing out the supposed connection between MMR vaccination and autism. Wakefield’s theory has since been debunked and proven to be unfounded.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), unvaccinated young children are at the highest risk for measles and its complications, which can result to death. Unvaccinated pregnant women also share this risk.
In Singapore, where MMR vaccine is compulsory in childhood, children are given their vaccinations following this schedule:
- 1st dose: within the first 15 months of life
- 2nd dose: within 15-18 months of age
Note: While children are likely to become immune against measles even if the vaccine is given at a later time, delaying it is still not recommended.
If an unvaccinated child is given the vaccine within 72 hours of exposure to the virus, the child is likely to develop milder symptoms.
Here are some FAQs about the MMR Vaccine:
Can adults still get vaccinated for MMR?
Yes. Adults who did not receive the MMR vaccine at childhood can still get it as an adult. It is important that you consult your doctor first as per the recommended doses of the vaccine.
What are the Symptoms and Complications of Measles?
The initial symptom of measles infection is typically a high-grade fever, which begins to manifest after 10 to 12 days after exposure through contact with infected nasal and throat secretions. Other symptoms include those similar to flu such as cough; red, watery eyes; runny nose; small white spots inside the cheeks (buccal area); and rashes on the face, neck, and feet.
Advanced stages of the infection could lead to complications such as blindness, ear infection, encephalitis, severe diarrhea, dehydration, and pneumonia. In 2016, approximately 90,000 people have died from the infection, an 84% drop from more than half a million deaths in 2000, as per the WHO. (ALSO READ: 4 Health Tips for OFWs Abroad)