Studies do not show benefits of TB booster shots: MOH

We thank Mr Ronald Lee for his interest in the fight against TB (Booster dose of BCG vaccine may help to fight TB, March 27).

All children in Singapore receive the BCG vaccination as part of the National Childhood Immunisation Programme. The BCG vaccination is meant to protect babies and young children against very serious forms of TB, such as TB meningitis (TB of the brain lining).

While the BCG vaccination provides some protection against lung TB, such protection is incomplete and lung TB can still occur. The World Health Organisation (WHO) does not recommend a booster shot for BCG because studies have failed to show the benefit of such booster shots.

To prevent the spread of TB in the community, the Ministry of Health (MOH) has put in place a national TB control programme.

Key strategies include early detection, ensuring adherence to treatment through Directly Observed Treatment (DOT), monitoring the progress of TB treatment and contact screening.

To prevent the spread of TB in the community, the Ministry of Health (MOH) has put in place a national TB control programme. Key strategies include early detection, ensuring adherence to treatment through Directly Observed Treatment (DOT), monitoring the progress of TB treatment and contact screening.

MOH is also exploring ways to make it less inconvenient for active TB patients on DOT. To increase accessibility and compliance, persons on DOT can choose to take their medication at polyclinics and partner GP clinics. Staff from the TB Control Unit also visit frail and elderly patients at their homes to help them with their medication.

While there are national control measures in place to reduce the risk of TB transmission in Singapore, everyone plays an important role in preventing the spread of TB.

Individuals who display symptoms of active TB, such as unexplained prolonged cough of three weeks or more should seek medical attention early to ensure prompt diagnosis and treatment.

Lim Bee Khim (Ms)

Director
Corporate Communications
Ministry of Health

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 05, 2017, with the headline 'Studies do not show benefits of TB booster shots: MOH'. Print Edition | Subscribe