Since Elliott was born, we have always done his vaccinations at his PD. Each visit would cost a couple of hundreds – consultation fee alone would be $100+. Throw in medication, cost of vaccine, etc. For his MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella) jab to be taken after he turns 1, we had an appointment at the same PD but he fell ill with croup. When we tried to reschedule the appointment, the nurses at the PD told us that the earliest appointment was for May. Phwah.
We decided to take the polyclinic route. Friends with babies of similar ages have told us that all their vaccinations are taken at the polyclinic because the main ones are FREE for Singapore citizens. FREE! I called SingHealth to make an appointment and we were given a slot today at Geylang Polyclinic.
Let me state upfront that the last time I visited a polyclinic was yonks ago. I was a child and my memories of the place wasn’t very good. It was dark and it smelt musky. I also remember the crazy long wait which made me sicker than I already was then. This probably explains my resistance to heading to a polyclinic for Elliott’s vaccinations.
Our appointment slot was for 3.40pm. I approached the service staff standing by the entrance and informed the Malay makcik that it was our first visit. She sounded impatient and kept asking me for “the card”. I had to repeat myself a few times to say that it was our FIRST VISIT and that I had NO CARD. I only had Elliott’s birth certificate. Would that help?
Finally another (younger) lady helped us. She issued us with an appointment card and told us to head to level 3. It was the Mother and Child area. We barely waited 3 minutes before it was our turn to see the nurse. As it was our first visit, she asked a couple of developmental questions and also took his height (74.5cm) and weight (10.1kg).
We were then directed to see the doctor on level 2 as it was our first visit. Silly us waited outside for quite a while, wondering why it was taking so long. Turns out that our number was called so quickly, we ended up on the “missed queue” list. Doh. Thankfully, I discovered this boo-boo after about 15 minutes of waiting.
The doctor, again, asked a couple of routine developmental questions and ticked off the questions in his health booklet. Once done, he sent us back to the same nurse for the vaccination.
I had to hold Elliott as he sat on my lap as the jab was given on his left arm. He looked a little curious as to what was happening but the moment the needle went in, he squirmed and cried out in shock/pain. Awww, my heart. Nurse said that I had to hold onto him and I said I did! She quipped that E is strong, hence he was able to break free from my tight grasp. She also added that this MMR vaccine is not as painful as the previous ones as it does not go into the muscle.
She also proceeded to book his next vaccination appointment (when he turns 18 months old) in the computer system and we were also told that all his vaccination records are in the central bank. Technology is awesome.
She gave us some advice about fever and to watch out for any infection on the injection site, then sent us off to the Pharmacy for payment.
We used the self-service payment kiosk and the total bill?
$6.10. We only paid $6.10 because all recommended immunisations under the NCIP (see below) are FREE, all thanks to government subsidy. HOW AWESOME IS IT TO BE SINGAPOREAN? :)
You can read more on this website.
We were in and out of the polyclinic in about an hour. Could have been shorter! The polyclinics of today are a far cry from yesteryears. For one, the entire system is computerised – from registration, to waiting time, to payment. The environment is also bright, clean and airy. Although the waiting area for the doctor had no air-conditioning, the one for Mother & Child on level 3 was air-conditioned.
I have to also mention that at the PD, the jab was given by the PD while at the polyclinic, the nurse was the one who administered it. However, the motherly nurse who attended to us today looked like she does immunisation jabs on a daily basis and was very experience so if you’re not too fussed, you can take your child to the polyclinic for these jabs.
For now, we keep our fingers crossed that fever stays far far away…