Saturday afternoon, 3rd March 2018

212 family physicians and some Nurses from the Parkway Hospitals participated at our first 2018 teaching seminar  entitled “ Vaccine Update: Strategy For Special Populations”. It was  held at the Island Ballroom, Shangri-la Hotel.

Dr Lam Mun San, the first speaker, spoke on Maternal Immunisations.  She spoke about pregnancy and emphasised that pregnant women were more susceptible to infections. Dr Lam discussed the factors contributing to the increased susceptibility and the likely infections that occur during the specific trimester periods. She then went on to discuss preventive measures against infections and focused on Influenza and Pertussis vaccines.

Dr Wong Sin Yew gave an update on vaccinations for adolescents and young adults (<25 years old).  He started by informing the participants on the major considerations in vaccinating adolescents/young adults and including booster does against Pertussis using Boostrix, HPV Vaccination using Gardasil 9 and the reasons for recommending meningococcal vaccination such as the conjugate quadrivalent and MenB vaccination in certain European countries, US and Australia. Dr Wong also discussed on the use of a “3rd dose” of MMR II in managing outbreaks of measles and mumps.

Dr Jasmine Chung, Consultant at the Dept of Infectious Diseases, SGH was our first guest speaker and she spoke about Vaccinations for the immunocompromised host (ICH). Dr Chung started with the principles of giving vaccinations to immunocompromised host, who the immunocompromised patients are.  She then proceeded to discuss the following:

  • selection of vaccines & timing of vaccination in ICH
  • considerations for Vaccinating Transplant Candidates/Recipients
  • Vaccination in the asplenic patient
  • Herpes zoster in immunocompromised host
  • HPV and the immunocompromised host

Dr Chung discussed the “limitations” of our current vaccines for ICH and concluded her talk with “ Vaccination is important. Partial protection is better than no protection.”

Dr Loh Jiashen, Associate Consultant in infectious diseases at the Sengkang General Hospital spoke on “Preventing disease in the elderly through vaccinations”. Dr Loh started with sharing with our audience on “Immune senescence ”, age related changes in the immune system in older patients. He discussed some studies which showed weaker vaccine responses in the elderly. Dr Loh then emphasised the role of influenza, pneumococcal and herpes zoster vaccines in the elderly. He also discussed the published data on the new adjuvanted herpes zoster subunit vaccine that was recently registered in the US. We look forward to the registration of this vaccine in Singapore.

The feedback received from the participants showed that they wanted more topics on infectious diseases covered in our other seminars in 2018!

We are grateful to Pfizer and our guest speakers, Dr Chung and Dr Low for supporting us for this educational event.