WE THANK Ms Estella Young ("Inoculate ourselves against culture of vaccine denial"), Dr Leong Choon Kit ("Measles: Guard against complacency") and Ms Li Dan Yue ("Educate parents on measles risk") for their feedback, which emphasised the importance of measles vaccination in conferring on our children effective protection against the disease.
We reassure the public that all vaccines licensed in Singapore meet safety, quality and efficacy requirements and are monitored closely for side effects. Many scientific studies have found no link between childhood vaccines and autism, a view supported by the World Health Organisation.
The MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccination is recommended under the National Childhood Immunisation Schedule for the prevention of measles.
Parents should take their young children for both doses of MMR vaccination on time. MMR vaccinations are fully subsidised at polyclinics and, since June 1 last year, parents may also use Medisave for their children's MMR vaccinations at private general practitioner and paediatric clinics.
In Singapore, it is compulsory for parents and guardians to have their children vaccinated against measles. Proof of vaccination is required for enrolment into childcare centres. Vaccination certificates must also be submitted as part of primary school registration.
Such measures have been effective in keeping the risk of a community outbreak of measles low among those vaccinated.
As direct caregivers, parents are in the best position to ensure that their young children are vaccinated on time. Where appropriate, the Government proactively plays a supportive role by educating, encouraging and reminding parents to fulfil this responsibility in their child's best interest.
The National Immunisation Registry, maintained by the Health Promotion Board, for instance, will send a reminder letter to the parents if a child misses any vaccination.
Through such cooperation between parents and the health authorities, we have kept the MMR vaccination coverage among Singapore residents consistently high at 95 per cent over the years. We will continue to emphasise to parents the importance of ensuring that our young are given the best protection against measles through vaccination.
Jeffery Cutter (Dr)
Director, Communicable Diseases Division
Ministry of Health
K. Vijaya (Dr)
Director, Youth Preventive Services Division & School Health and Outreach Division,
Health Promotion Board
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