Concerned about invasive pneumococcal infection that's being covered all over the news? So are we. Here, we bring you up to speed:

The Centre for Health Protection has promised subsidies for children aged 2 to 5 years old to receive PCV 13, the most advanced pneumococcal disease vaccination. Details of the subsidy scheme will be introduced in the upcoming weeks.

The decision came after the death of two toddlers raised panic amongst parents. The children, aged 3 and 5, died from invasive pneumococcal infection after contracting the Streptococcus pneumonia bacteria.

The 5-year-old girl, who died on November 18, had not received the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine. The 3-year-old boy, who died on November 17, died despite having been vaccinated with PCV 7 and PCV 10. They both tested positive for serotype 3.

The 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV 13) has only been registered and approved for use since 2010. Prior to 2010, children were vaccinated with PCV 7 or PCV 10, which does not protect them against serotype 3.

Another 5-year-old girl is the third confirmed victim of the bacteria and is currently in intensive care. There are three other suspected cases but it is not known yet whether these babies (aged one to two years old) have tested positive for serotype 3.

The promise of subsidies by the CHP was prompted after a rush of parents flooding private clinics for PCV 13 left clinics with a very low supply. The vaccine jab costs $800-1000 at a private clinic and the subsidy will lower the cost by a few hundred dollars.

However, the Scientific Committee on Vaccine Preventable Diseases’ are not encouraging all children to get the PCV 13 booster shot, because the protection period only lasts from six to 12 months.

For more information:

Subsidised vaccines set for children (

PCV 13 booster subsidies planned (

Girl, 5, confirmed with fatal bug as lawmakers slam vaccine plans (SCMP)

Children under five to get subsidised jab against fatal bug (SCMP)

Health chief seeks to ease fears on child jabs (The Standard)