Kids and Vaccinations (part 2-deciding on a schedule/extra vaccinations)–Expat to Expat Advice

I’ve written before about vaccinations for your kids as an expat and I’m happy to say I’ve learned a lot since that post.

You can pick the vaccination schedule you want to follow

Your pediatrician should be able to follow your home country’s vaccination schedule without any issues.  If they can’t, I would strongly encourage you to find a new pediatrician/family practitioner.

As we’re American, I’ve opted to follow the US vaccination schedule.  In part this is because we vaccinate against more diseases, and we use combination vaccinations, which means fewer shots for some diseases that both the US and Singapore vaccinate against.  Considering that Singapore is surrounded by developing nations, and that we do travel/plan to travel within those countries, I see an ounce of prevention (aka the vaccinations) to be worth their weight in gold.  I may then customize/add on a few other vaccinations (such as the tuberculosis vax, see below) as we deem appropriate.

If you have a baby in Singapore, you’ll be given a green booklet, which among other things, lists the Singapore vaccination schedule.  Remember to print out and keep a copy of your preferred schedule in the book for your reference, or things will become confusing very quickly.

The tuberculosis vaccinations

If you have a baby in Singapore, they can get a tuberculosis vaccination at birth.

However, if your children are older than newborns when you move to Singapore, you will need to let them get a TB test.

The most commonly used diagnostic tool for tuberculosis is a simple skin test. A small amount of a substance called PPD tuberculin is injected just below the skin of your inside forearm. You should feel only a slight needle prick.

Within 48 to 72 hours, a health care professional will check your arm for swelling at the injection site. A hard, raised red bump means you’re likely to have TB infection. The size of the bump determines whether the test results are significant.  source

If the child tests positive there’s one course of action.  Assuming they are negative (the most likely result), you can then get the vaccination.

We will likely have Elanor get the TB screen and then the vaccination at some point in the next year or so.  Right now, we’re there fairly frequently for Rhiannon’s jaundice, and I’d like to handle one child’s medical crap at a time, so E and TB can wait for now.

Required Vaccinations

It is my understanding that these vaccinations are required for your child to attend school in Singapore.  As we’re a vaccinating family I have no idea what your options are if you are anti-vax.

Pertussis Booster for Adults

The US has recently (within the last 5 years) recommended that all adults and caregivers of young children get a pertussis (whooping cough) booster shot in their 20’s/30’s…before they come into contact with a young child.

I wanted to get B’s booster done so that Rhi would be protected (as a preemie, she’s especially vulnerable to respiratory disease right now).  When we went to a local clinic, they said there was no such booster and it was impossible.  However, with research, it became clear that the booster is the same one given to teenagers, and that is part of the shot regimen here.  However, for her to successfully get the shot, we had to send her to an international clinic that was more familiar with expat medicine and other country’s vaccination programs.  It was no issue (and I’m happy to give out their info, should you want it–just leave a comment).

Final Thoughts

Vaccinations are one of those things we need to deal with as parents…but with a good doctor’s office, it’s actually a fairly easy road to navigate once you’ve decided on your preferences (whose schedule you’re following, which additional shots you want as needed, etc).

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3 Responses to Kids and Vaccinations (part 2-deciding on a schedule/extra vaccinations)–Expat to Expat Advice

  1. Kirsten says:

    When I was in primary school it was compulsory for every kid to have the TB skin test and then the BCG vaccination. They stopped that the year after me (figures).

    The skin test thing says you should only feel a slight needle prick but I remember it hurting more than the actual vaccination. Of course, to a little 11-year-old we became convinced that it would hurt sooooo much that our arms would fall off, and acted/overreacted accordingly.

    • Crystal says:

      I had to have the TB test before starting work at an American public school (standard) but it’s not a common shot in the US as TB is pretty much eradicated there. I remember it being tender, but not hugely sore. It’s more just taking E to the doctor, her throwing a fit over the jab (I’m still hearing about the flu jab she got over a month ago), and then taking her back 48 hours later that’s a pain.

  2. Pingback: Response to TWC2 post | Expat Bostonians

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