ENABLING LOW-INCOME SENIORS ACCESS TO SHINGLES VACCINES

Murali Pillai
2 min readNov 23, 2023

Several residents, all of them seniors, informed me that they found the shingles vaccination too expensive. They asked if the Government can consider supporting them. From my ensuing research, I found out that more than 90% of Singaporeans aged 50 and above carry dormant varicella-zoster (chicken-pox) virus. Research from US also suggests that 1 in 3 such carriers will go on to develop shingles, which is an excruciating disease. I therefore filed a PQ asking that the Government consider making the vaccines more affordable. I was glad to note from Minister Ong Ye Kung’s reply that MOH is prepared to look at my suggestion.

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Mr Murali Pillai asked the Minister for Health having regard to the fact that more than 90% of Singaporeans of and above the age of 50 carry dormant varicella-zoster virus and a study in the US suggesting that up to one in three adults can experience the reactivation of the virus in the form of shingles, whether the Government will study ways to enable seniors from low-income backgrounds to have access to shingles vaccines which are currently viewed as expensive.

Mr Ong Ye Kung: The Ministry of Health is currently evaluating the shingles vaccine’s clinical and cost-effectiveness, with a view to decide if it should be included in the National Adult Immunisation Schedule (NAIS). If yes, it will be eligible for subsidies and MediSave usage.

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Murali Pillai

Member of Parliament, Bukit Batok SMC, Advisor to Bukit Batok SMC GROs.