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​Let's not forget about the other vaccines

While the world — including Singapore — rolls out its COVID-19 vaccination exercises, let’s not forget about
adopting 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 include
fever, 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 caregivers
should 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-day
interval between the different vaccines. Before taking your shots, seek advice from your family doctor first as they
would know your medical history best.


Facts about Vaccinations


It’s not only important for
kids.
It’s not only needed when travelling abroad.
Flu vaccine does not cause the flu.
We still need to get vaccinated even if other people are
already vaccinated.
Some vaccines may not last a lifetime.
​Many infectious diseases that can be prevented by
vaccines can affect adults too. Vaccination is important for
everyone.
​While certain vaccinepreventable
infections like
yellow fever, rabies and Japanese encephalitis are
not found in Singapore, many others, like influenza,
pneumococcal infections, chickenpox and measles, are present all year round here.
​The flu vaccine does not contain any live viruses so it cannot
cause an infection. Minor side effects like mild soreness at
injection site, muscle aches, tiredness, and mild fever, will go
away within a few days.
​We should be taking charge of our own health.​Different vaccines have different
efficacies and declining immunity is a well-described
phenomenon in some vaccines.
They may require booster doses
to prolong immunity.