Influenza, commonly known as the “flu”, is a contagious disease that can affect anyone including healthy people. It attacks the respiratory tract in humans (nose, throat, and lungs), causing inflammation of the mucous membranes.
What are the types of flu vaccines provided at Healthway Medical?
Healthway Medical GP clinics provide quadrivalent vaccinations that protect against four different flu viruses; two influenza A viruses and two influenza B viruses.
This flu vaccine is released twice a year during April / May and September / October (for the Southern Hemisphere influenza season and Northern Hemisphere influenza season respectively). Each new release contains different strains of flu virus that are expected to be the most common for that season, so as to provide optimal protection against flu viruses.
What are the flu vaccine recommendations by the Ministry of Health Singapore?
The Ministry of Health Singapore recommends getting influenza vaccination before travelling, to help mitigate the widespread transmission of flu.
A single dose is recommended annually as flu viruses are rapidly adapting and your body’s immunity to flu viruses may decline over time.
Who is the influenza vaccination recommended for?
- Persons at increased risk of influenza-related complications:
- Persons aged 65 years or older
- Children aged 6 months to under 5 years (i.e. 6 to 59 months)
- Adults and children who have chronic pulmonary or cardiovascular disorders
- Adults and children who have required regular medical follow-up or hospitalisation due to chronic metabolic diseases, renal, neurologic, hepatic or haematologic disorders
- Adults and children with immunosuppression
- Children and adolescents aged 6 months to 18 years who are receiving long-term aspirin therapy and therefore might be at risk for developing Reye syndrome after influenza infection
- Women at all stages of pregnancy
- Persons receiving intermediate and long term care (ILTC) services in institutional settings
- All healthcare workers and staff in healthcare institutions and establishments
In light of COVID-19 pandemic, flu vaccination continues to be recommended for persons working or living in close-living environments. These groups include:
- Foreign workers living in all forms of dormitories and private residential premises. In particular, those working in construction, marine, and
- Staff working in custodial and residential facilities (e.g. homes and shelters), communal living facilities, hostels or cruises/ferries
Why it is important to get the influenza vaccination?
It is important to get flu vaccination especially for individuals with compromised immunity, such as older people, children, and those with pre-existing conditions, who are more likely to develop serious complications if they get the flu.
Flu symptoms are similar to those of COVID-19 and are not easily distinguishable. Individuals with flu symptoms have to be tested for COVID-19 and this puts a strain on our nation’s healthcare resources.
Besides easing the burden on our healthcare system, getting the vaccination will safeguard your health against influenza-related illnesses and prevent a possible “twindemic” of COVID-19 and the flu.
Is it safe to get a flu vaccination during pregnancy?
Yes, it is safe for women in all trimesters of pregnancy to get flu vaccinations. (Source: SingHealth)
Is it necessary for me to take the flu vaccine if I have already taken my COVID-19 vaccine?
As the COVID-19 vaccine does not protect you against influenza, it is recommended that you take the flu vaccine even after you have completed the full dosage of COVID-19 vaccine.
What is the recommended interval between influenza vaccination and COVID-19 vaccination?
As per recommendations from the Ministry of Health Singapore, a minimum interval of 14 days is currently recommended before or after COVID-19 vaccine, i.e. influenza or other vaccines should not be administered 14 days or less before the first dose; or 14 days or less after the second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. The same principle applies for the third/booster dose.
What are the subsidies available for flu vaccinations?
As flu vaccinations are under the National Adult Immunisation Schedule (NAIS) and National Childhood Immunisation Schedule (NCIS), eligible Singaporeans will only need to pay the following amounts at Healthway Medical CHAS GP clinics (after government subsidies):
• Eligible Singaporean children: $0
• Eligible Pioneer Generation cardholders: capped at $9 to $16 per vaccination dose
• Eligible Merdeka Generation, CHAS Blue and Orange cardholders: capped at $18 to $31 per vaccination dose
• Other eligible adult Singaporeans: capped at $35 to $63 per vaccination dose
Can I use my Medisave to pay for the flu vaccine?
Persons recommended for influenza vaccination under the National Adult Immunisation Schedule (NAIS) and National Childhood Immunisation Schedule (NCIS) may use MediSave to pay for the remaining out-of-pocket cost of outpatient influenza vaccinations, under the MediSave500/700 scheme.
Patients aged 60 and above can also tap on Flexi-MediSave.
The use of MediSave is subject to the prevailing MediSave500/700 and Flexi-MediSave limits.
Where can I get the flu vaccine?
Healthway Medical GP clinics located islandwide provide flu vaccinations. However, as the flu vaccines are subject to availability, please call your preferred Healthway Medical GP clinic to confirm the stock availability before making an appointment.