Wednesday 30 November 2011

Children to receive MMR vaccination at younger age

by Channel NewsAsia, 30 Nov 2011

From tomorrow (1 Dec 2011), children will receive both doses of the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccination at a younger age, after the Ministry of Health (MOH) accepted a recommendation from the Expert Committee on Immunisation. 

The MOH said the earlier vaccinations will help reduce the number of measles cases seen in unvaccinated children aged 15 months and below.

Under these recommendations, children will get their first dose at 12 months, instead of the previous 12 to 24 months.

The second dose will also be brought forward from six to seven years to between 15 and 18 months.

The MOH said that providing the two doses at a closer interval will also ensure almost all vaccinated children are sufficiently protected against measles earlier in their lives.

It added that the MMR vaccination is the most effective way to protect against measles, mumps and rubella, which are highly contagious childhood diseases that can lead to serious complications in children and, in the case of measles, even death.

The ministry advised that children who have either started or completed their vaccination with 7-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV7) be given a supplemental dose of 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13).

It said PCV13 contains six additional pneumococcal serotypes, including the emergent serotype 19A, which can cause invasive pneumococcal disease. This vaccine protects against pneumococcal disease, caused by the Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria.

Pneumococcal infection is one of the most common causes of pneumonia and bacterial meningitis, which is the infection of the membrane covering brain and spinal cord, and also middle ear infection in children.

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