Home >> Health >> Childhood vaccination in Singapore – 5 in 1? 6 in 1? Polyclinic charges and schedule?

[Update: This post was originally written in March 2013. Since June 2013, 5-in-1 and Hep B jabs have been offered FREE at polyclinics. I have updated the information in this post to reflect the free vaccinations.]

I remember when MF was just born, I was utterly confused by vaccination practices in Singapore. To make things simple, I just brought him to my PD and let her arrange the dates for the jabs and didn’t ask too much.

Now for MY, I tried to find out more to see if I can save some $$ on vaccinations (having 2 kids can be quite a strain financially!) Most people tell me polyclinics are the cheapest place to go. I called the polyclinics up to find out more but frankly, it was still pretty confusing, even for me as a second-time mum. So after spending some time deciphering what they said and putting my almost-rusted Math expertise to good use, I am going to share what I figured out.

Basically these are the vaccinations that are compulsory in Singapore (i.e. your kid needs to have all these done before Primary School enrollment):

1) Hep B – 3 doses required
2) Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis (also known as DPT or 3-in-1) – 4 doses required
3) Polio (also known as Oral Sabin) – 4 doses required
4) Pneumococcal (also known as PCV or Prevenar) – 3 doses required
5) Mumps, measles, rubella (also known as MMR) – 2 doses required

(Note: I used the term ‘doses’ loosely. Technically, some of the jabs are ‘doses’ and some are ‘boosters’. But to us layman parents, a jab is a jab, it makes no difference (at least to me) whether they are a ‘dose’ or a ‘booster’, so I call all of them ‘doses’.)

What is 5-in-1 / 6-in-1?
5-in-1 combines #2, #3 and something called Haemophilia influenza type b.
6-in-1 combines everything in 5-in-1 and Hep B.

5 in 1 and 6 in 1 vaccinations

All babies already have 1 jab of Hep B at birth. In other words, to complete the compulsory vaccinations #1-#3, these are the three most common options:

1) Take 2 jabs of 6-in-1 and 2 jabs of 5-in-1Screenshot 2015-01-15 12.46.09

2) Take 1 jab of Hep B, 1 jab of 6-in-1 and 3 jabs of 5-in-1.Screenshot 2015-01-15 12.54.07

3) Take 2 jab of Hep B and 4 jabs of 5-in-1.Screenshot 2015-01-15 12.49.54

It seems like the obvious thing to do is option 1 right? Why would parents opt for options 2 and 3, you may wonder?

Well, that is because of our very confusing polyclinic practices and charges. At polyclinic, 5-in-1 is offered free of charge (for Singapore citizens) whereas you need to pay for 6-in-1. Hence, to save money, option 3 is the way to go.

Then what’s up with option 2? Logically, if you are going to pay for the combined shots, you should just take option 1 and skip any additional Hep B jabs right? Yes, that’s why most private clinics offer option 1. But for reasons I have yet to figure out, polyclinics do not offer option 1. They only offer option 2, meaning you need to take one more separate Hep B jab.

How much does it cost to immunize your child at polyclinic? Is it really much cheaper than going private clinics?

For the most updated cost of immunization at polyclinics, please refer to this link on NHGP’s website. The table below was screen captured from NHGP’s website and was correct as of 5 June 2013.
Singapore vaccination cost at polyclinics

If you choose options 2 and 3, it is definitely much cheaper than going to private clinics because one 5-in-1 jab at private clinics typically cost around $100 while it is offered FREE at polyclinics. However, since option #1 is not offered at polyclinics, some parents are willing to pay more to put their babies through less jabs at private clinics. So how much more would it cost?

To help you with your comparison of prices with your private clinic, I have done the sums for the total price for vaccinations (excluding consultation) at polyclinic based on today’s price for Singapore citizens and you can compare it with the package that your private clinic is offering. Please note that polyclinics no longer offer packages like they used to.

For compulsory jabs only:

Using option 2:
Hep B = FREE
5-in-1 = FREE
6-in-1 = $120
PCV = $150 x 3 = $450
MMR = FREE
TOTAL = $570

Using option 3:
Hep B = FREE
5-in-1 = FREE
PCV = $150 x 3
MMR = FREE
TOTAL = $450

For compulsory and optional jabs (chicken pox, rotavirus, hep A):

Using option 2:
Hep B = FREE
5-in-1 = FREE
6-in-1 = $120
PCV = $150 x 3 = $450
MMR = FREE
Chickenpox (Varicella) = $72
Rotavirus = $90 x 2 = $180
Hep A = $66 x 2 = $132
TOTAL = $954

Using option 3:
Hep B = FREE
5-in-1 = FREE
PCV = $150 x 3
MMR = FREE
Chickenpox (Varicella) = $72
Rotavirus = $90 x 2 = $180
Hep A = $66 x 2 = $132
TOTAL = $834

When comparing prices, make sure you ask about consultation fees. A typical pediatrician charges $50-$60 for consultation each time you go for a jab, and a GP $15-$20. At polyclinics, consultation is about $10. But some PDs / GPs waive consultation if you are just going in for jabs.

Also check the list of vaccinations that your private clinic offer in their packages carefully, particularly the following:

  • Some offer MMRV (a jab that combines MMR with chickenpox into one, and typically costs more than the total cost of 2 separate jabs) in their package while others will ask you to top up if you want to take the combined jab. The cost I computed above was for separate jabs.
  • Some clinics only offer 1 MMR jab in their package, because in the past, children only needed 1 dose of MMR before Primary School. But in Nov 2011, the government announced that kids need to have 2 doses of MMR by 18 months. Some clinics have since introduced new packages to include 2 MMR jabs, while others only offer 1 and ask you to top up for the additional MMR jab. In my above computation, 2 MMR jabs are included in the total (since they are free at polyclinics).
  • Some clinics do not include Hep A in their packages. In my above computation, I have included Hep A.

When do I bring my baby in for vaccination?

If you are going to polyclinic, you need to bring your baby in at 1 month old for the Hep B jab. If you are going private clinics for 6-in-1, this is done when baby is 2 months old. Subsequently, the clinics will arrange appointments for your other vaccinations.

A sample vaccination schedule using option 3 would look like this (click image to enlarge): Singapore vaccination schedule

A sample vaccination schedule at private clinics using option 1 would look like this (click image to enlarge):Singapore vaccination schedule 6-in-1

Note that vaccination at polyclinics is strictly by appointment only. You need to call 63553000 to schedule an appointment. (Visit NHGP website for more details.)

Conclusion

If you wish to save money, then just go to the polyclinic for option 3. If you wish to take as little jabs as possible, then look for a private clinic that does option 1.

Common reasons that people choose not to go to polyclinics in spite of the money-saving include difficulty in taking leave from work to bring kids for jabs, and difficulty in rescheduling appointments when the baby falls sick (which happens A LOT – you are advised not to bring your baby for vaccination when the baby is not feeling well). When I tried rescheduling an appointment, I was told I needed to wait 2 months for the next available slot. So for convenience, some parents find it much easier to just bring the baby to private clinics so that they can pop in as and when they are free to do so.

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22Comments

  1. I have been looking for someone who can explain the confusing vaccination packages in Singapore. After reading many sites for weeks, I am still as confuse as ever. It only make sense to me and having a grip of the big picture after I read this post. Thanks Bumble Bee Mum. This post is really very helpful.

    In laying out Option 1 – 3, it helps confuse parents to decide based on convenience vs costs, and the benefit of private vs polyclinics.

    Just one question. I noticed that your above example of both compulsory and optional jab, it does not include Haemophilus Influenza B (Hib) which is part of the 4 in 1 / 5 in 1 package. And for Option 3 when parents chooses to take the free 3 in 1, they are missing out on this. So it might be good to have added that into those example above.

  2. Oh yah, it might be good to add in that some vaccination can be paid via Medisave. If I am not mistaken, Hep B and PCV Pneumococcal.

  3. alan says:

    5 in 1s are now free in polyclinics

  4. YVONNE KAN says:

    hi, if i just wanna MMR jab for my girl at queenstown poly clinic isit chargable ???

  5. JS says:

    thanks for sharing!! it is really useful information!

  6. Sheldon says:

    Very Very Informative! Kudos to all contributors.

  7. Ram says:

    cool mate, thanks, just the information i was looking for, god bless!

  8. Dennis says:

    Thanks, At Least now i understand

  9. Jet says:

    Hi. How r u?
    I have been looking on the net for chickenpox vaccination in Singapore and found your site.
    I will be travelling there next week with my kids from Brunei, need to ask how much does it cost for a chickenpox vaccination? As over here its been out of stock for a very long time. And where to get one. Thanks in advance.

    • bumblebeemum says:

      Hi, chickenpox vaccination currently costs $72 at our polyclinic (excluding any consultation costs). Price at private clinics will differ by clinics, so you’ll need to enquire at the individual clinics.

    • bumblebeemum says:

      Regarding where to get one, I think they are quite readily available at clinics in Singapore. You can just walk into any general practitioner clinic to enquire.

  10. therealdeal says:

    actually only measles and diphtheria are compulsory in Singapore.

    • bumblebeemum says:

      If the child has only taken measles and diphtheria vaccinations, will they receive the Certificate of Vaccination? According to HPB website, it says “When your child registers for primary school, the School will check your child’s immunisation certificates to see if he or she has completed all the recommended immunisations.” and “This certificate may be requested by child care centres or schools, many of whom require proof that your child is up to date with immunisations before enrolment.” From the wordings used, it does sound like it is not strictly compulsory, but up to the schools’ discretion whether they want to accept children who did not complete the list of vaccinations recommended by HPB. But I believe most parents (or at least for me) would want to complete the vaccinations required to get the Certificate.

  11. Anonymous says:

    actually, if u want to save even more money, can do PCV once only after 2 years old. $150 instead of $450

  12. joanie says:

    God bless u for sharing the info

  13. nga nguyen says:

    Hello, I’m from HCMC. I wanna vaccinate 6in1, this is 4th to my baby, she is 16 months. Pls tell me the process to apply paper work & how much does it cost for total service include meeting doctor before Vaccine?

  14. Vivian says:

    Hi mummy, I’m a bit confused by the PCV jabs. Is the PCV jab at 3 months separate from 5in1 or can they be incorporated?

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