Depending on where you go, getting vaccines can be an integral part of the travel planning process. But it would be safe to say, most people wouldn’t think to get shots before travelling to Singapore, which is considered an affluent and safe place.
However, travellers may need to rethink that approach, if authorities are given the power to turn away unvaccinated foreigners as has been proposed under legislation changes by the health ministry.
According to AFP, Singaporean authorities are looking to better protect the already tightly controlled, but open country from infectious diseases. And this could include placing tighter restrictions on visitors as well as increasing the number of vaccinations travellers would require, AFP reported.
At present, tourists are urged, though not forced to vaccinate against yellow fever. But the country’s most high-profile health incident came during 2003, when Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) caused the death of 33 people in the Southeast Asian nation.
The ministry also wants the country to guard itself from diseases like bird flu, Ebola and the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome.
"As a major global trade and travel hub, it is imperative that we remain vigilant to public health threats... by protecting the community against new and emerging infectious diseases," said the ministry, which added that new powers would be “exercised judiciously”.
Travellers arriving unwell would also not be turned away.
Last year, 17.4 million tourists visited the Southeast Asian nation, which is more than triple its 5.6 million population.
The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) - which takes a conservative line to travel - advises Singapore-bound Aussies to be wary of mosquito-borne illnesses such as Zika and Dengue fever and to discuss travel plans and other vaccination needs with their doctor before travelling.
Have you ever been vaccinated before travelling to Singapore?