Vaccines: Free for children, subsidised for adults

By the year end, Singaporeans under the age of 18 will receive free vaccinations listed on the National Childhood Immunisation Schedule (NCIS).

Similarly, childhood-development screenings are free at polyclinics and general practitioner (GP) clinics on the Community Health Assist Scheme (Chas).

These moves were announced by Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Health Amrin Amin yesterday in Parliament, during the debate on his ministry's budget.

The NCIS includes eight types of vaccines, including those to guard against tuberculosis, hepatitis B and pneumococcal infections - which can lead to pneumonia, meningitis and blood infections.

Adult Singaporeans will also be eligible for means-tested subsidies for vaccinations under the National Adult Immunisation Schedule (NAIS).

These include seven types of vaccines, including those for influenza, the human papillomavirus and pneumococcal infections.

At polyclinics, eligible lower-to middle-income Singaporeans will get 75 per cent subsidy.

Other eligible Singaporeans will get 50 per cent subsidy for the vaccinations.

Pioneer Generation seniors will get an additional 50 per cent off, while the Merdeka Generation will get another 25 per cent.

"We are studying ways to help those who may have difficulties going to polyclinics and Chas GPs, such as nursing home residents, to benefit from these subsidies," Mr Amrin added.

He also announced that the Health Ministry will introduce caps on fees for subsidised NAIS and NCIS vaccinations administered at Chas GP clinics.

Details will be released at a later date.

Replying to Workers' Party Non-Constituency MP Leon Perera, Mr Amrin said the coverage for most childhood vaccinations in Singapore exceeded 95 per cent in the past five years.

With the rollout of the subsidies, he hoped more adults will take up the vaccines as he aimed to increase the coverage to more than 50 per cent by 2025.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 06, 2020, with the headline 'Vaccines: Free for children, subsidised for adults'. Subscribe