STRONGLY RECOMMENDED VACCINESFlu and pneumococcal vaccines are not effective against COVID-19 but are highly recommended to protect your health and your loved ones, especially the following:
• Young children 5 years and below• Seniors 65 years and above• Pregnant women• People with diabetes or chronic heart, lung, liver, kidney disease or poorimmunity
• Seniors 65 years and above• Adults 18 years and above who have impaired immune system; or have diabetes, heart, lung, liver or kidneydisease; alcohol dependence; or smokers
Other vaccines available in Singapore: Measles/mumps/ rubella, hepatitis A and B, chickenpox, and diphtheria/tetanus/pertussis.
While the world — including Singapore — rolls out its COVID-19 vaccination exercises, let’s not forget aboutadopting other proactive ways to take better charge of our health. This means getting vaccinated against preventable diseases, such as flu and pneumonia.
“While the COVID-19 vaccine has good efficacy in preventing the coronavirus disease, it is not effective against diseases like influenza and pneumococcus,” explains Dr Zheng Shuwei, Consultant, Department of Infectious Diseases at SKH.
Flu occurs all year round in Singapore and can spread rapidly resulting in outbreaks. Common symptoms includefever, headache, body aches, cough, sore throat and runny nose, which are almost indistinguishable from COVID-19 symptoms without diagnostic testing.
Flu can also affect the lungs, brain and the heart, similar to COVID-19 complications. With so many similarities, getting a flu shot is all the more crucial amid the pandemic. The pneumococcal vaccine is another important vaccine to take, especially for seniors aged over 65 as well as individuals with chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart and lung diseases, and kidney disease. Pneumococcal disease is a bacterial infection that can cause pneumonia (lung infection), bloodstream infection, and meningitis (brain infection). It spreads through coughing, sneezing or sharing of food and drinks.
In cases where people with weakened immunity are unsuitable to receive certain vaccinations, their caregiversshould ensure they get themselves vaccinated as well, to prevent infection from spreading. “Vaccinations are safe and effective at preventing infections,reduce the strain on healthcare facilities, as well as protect vulnerable people in the community,” Dr Zheng assures.
If you intend to take these vaccines with the COVID-19 vaccine, Dr Zheng recommends having at least a 14-dayinterval between the different vaccines. Before taking your shots, seek advice from your family doctor first as theywould know your medical history best.
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