Jabs junior needs to have

First Look Asia tackles childhood vaccinations — after all, Mark Zuckerberg makes sure his baby girl gets them…


Guest, Associate Professor Chong Chia Yin, senior consultant, Department of Paediatrics, KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital.

Q Why is it important for children to get vaccinated?
Children need special attention during their early years to ensure that they have healthy development and vaccination is a way of optimising their healthy development — therefore parents need to ensure that children get their vaccinations on time.

Q How do vaccines work?
They are a form of the weakened bacteria or virus that is introduced into the body and the body will mount an antibody response to the vaccine to ensure that the body is able to fight infection. This type of “imitation” infection does not cause any disease to the patient but helps the body to fight the infection. When a large majority of the population is vaccinated, it means that a majority of the children is immune to the infection and this is called “herd immunity”.

Q What are some vaccines that provides lifelong immunity when you complete the whole course?
Three doses of hepatitis B at birth or two doses of measles vaccines at 12 months of age.

Q If a parent forgets to follow up with the vaccination, what happens?
Parents can just catch up with it.

Q Do vaccines always work?

A Vaccines work 90 to 99 per cent of the time. There is a small percentage of population who may not get protected after vaccination. That’s why it is important for a majority of the population to get vaccinated, so that they will protect the ones who are not vaccinated.

Q Should parents delay a scheduled vaccination if their children are sick?

A If a child has mild upper respiratory problems, they should not delay; but if the child is seriously ill — like high fever — the immune system does not respond optimally to the vaccination and hence parents should delay.

Photo: INGimage

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