Vaccinations: About time to start spending on healthcare?


Adults will be able to use Medisave to pay for recommended vaccinations, but how many people have zero or very low balances in their Medisave accounts?

I refer to the article “Adults can use Medisave to pay for recommended vaccinations from Nov 1” (Straits Times, Oct 21).

It states that “Adults will be able to use Medisave to pay for recommended vaccinations from Nov 1 with the National Adult Immunisation Schedule (NAIS).

In a statement, the Ministry of Health said it has established NAIS to provide guidance on vaccinations that people 18 years old and above should adopt to protect themselves against vaccine-preventable diseases.”

As to “With the NAIS, adults who have not been previously vaccinated or who are at risk will be able to make more informed choices on vaccination for personal protection. Together, the NAIS and NCIP provide comprehensive vaccination recommendations for Singaporeans and residents for all ages.”

The NAIS will provide the public and healthcare professionals with information on the necessary vaccinations and frequency of vaccination, targeting groups who should be vaccinated.

It was developed based on the recommendations of the national Expert Committee on Immunisation and comprises seven types of vaccines that protect against 11 diseases.

They include influenza, hepatitis B and the human papillomavirus” – since such vaccination is so important and will literally save lives – don’t you think that its about time that we start to spend some money on healthcare, instead of continuing with our current system of healthcare financing, whereby from a cashflow perspective – we may still not be spending a single cent on healthcare, as total annual Medisave contributions plus the annual interest on total Medisave accounts’ balances may exceed total annual government spending on healthcare and withdrawals for medical expenses and insurance premiums?

With regard to “Speaking at the Singapore Prevention and Cardiac Rehabilitation Symposium on Saturday, Senior Minister of State for Health and Transport, Dr Lam Pin Min said vaccination provides a person with protection against infectious diseases and is one of the strategies to reduce the risk of disease outbreaks in the community” – since it will “reduce the risk of disease outbreaks in the community” – isn’t this important enough for us to start to spend some money on healthcare too?

In this connection – Singapore’s public healthcare  spending as a percentage of GDP, at just about 2.5 per cent ($9.8 divided by $400 billion), is probably the lowest in the world.

In respect of “Dr Lam added: “While the coverage for vaccinations under the NCIP has been high for most of the vaccines, there is low awareness of the benefits of adult vaccination for personal protection and protection of at-risk family members.

“With the introduction of NAIS, we hope to encourage Singaporeans to take up the recommendations made in the NAIS to protect themselves and their loved ones against the relevant infectious diseases” – asking people to use their Medisave is still the people’s own money.

Also, how many people have zero or very low balances in their Medisave accounts?

Leong Sze Hian

About the Author

Leong Sze Hian has served as the president of 4 professional bodies, honorary consul of 2 countries, an alumnus of Harvard University, authored 4 books, quoted over 1500 times in the media , has been a radio talkshow host, a newspaper daily columnist, Wharton Fellow, SEACeM Fellow, columnist for theonlinecitizen and Malaysiakini, executive producer of Ilo Ilo (40 international awards), Hotel Mumbai (associate producer), invited to speak more than 200 times in about 40 countries, CIFA advisory board member, founding advisor to the Financial Planning Associations of 2 countries. He has 3 Masters, 2 Bachelors degrees and 13 professional  qualifications.