BCG tuberculosis (TB) vaccine overview
The BCG vaccine protects against tuberculosis, which is also known as TB.
TB is a serious infection that affects the lungs and sometimes other parts of the body, such as the bones, joints and kidneys.
Tuberculosis (TB) is a bacterial infection spread through inhaling tiny droplets from the coughs or sneezes of an infected person.
It mainly affects the lungs, but it can affect any part of the body, including the tummy (abdomen) glands, bones and nervous system. and Brain
Who should have the BCG vaccine?
The BCG vaccine (which stands for Bacillus Calmette-Guérin vaccine) is not given as part of the routine NHS vaccination schedule.
It's given only when a child or adult is thought to have an increased risk of coming into contact with TB.
BCG for babies
BCG vaccination is recommended for babies up to 1 year old who:
have a parent or grandparent who was born in a country where there's a high rate of TB
- Babies Travelling to developing or under developed countries
- countries with high risk of TB
BCG for children
BCG vaccination may also be recommended for older children who have an increased risk of developing TB, such as:
- anyone under 16 who has been in close contact with someone who has pulmonary TB (TB infection of the lung)
- older children with an increased risk of TB who were not vaccinated against TB when they were babies
- children who have recently arrived from countries with high levels of TB, including those in Africa, the Indian subcontinent, parts of southeast Asia, parts of South and Central America, and parts of the Middle East
- children who have come into close contact with somebody infected with respiratory TB
- Children under 5 years age travelling to developing countries or endemic area where TB activities has been reported
BCG for adults
Adults aged 16 to 35 who should have the BCG vaccine
BCG vaccination is recommended for people aged 16 to 35 who are at occupational risk of TB exposure, including:
- laboratory staff who are in contact with blood, urine and tissue samples
- veterinary staff and other animal workers, such as abattoir workers, who work with animals that are susceptible to TB, such as cattle or monkeys
- prison staff who work directly with prisoners
- staff of hostels for homeless people
- staff who work in facilities for refugees and asylum seekers
- healthcare workers with an increased risk of exposure to TB
How is the BCG vaccination given?
BCG vaccination is given as an injection into the upper arm.
The vaccination usually leaves a small scar.
When is the BCG vaccination given?
If it's advised that your baby has the BCG vaccine, the injection is usually offered soon after birth, while your baby is still in hospital if it is available
Or your baby can attend ITVC for vaccination after they have left hospital.
How effective is BCG vaccination?
The BCG vaccine is made from a weakened strain of TB bacteria. Because the bacteria in the vaccine is weak, it triggers the immune system to protect against the disease.
This gives good immunity to people who receive it without actually causing the disease.
The vaccine is 70 to 80% effective against the most severe forms of TB, such as TB of lung and meningitis in children.
It's less effective in preventing respiratory disease, which is the more common form of TB in adults.
As BCG vaccination is live vaccine. other live vaccination like MMR, Varicella(chikenpox), yellow Fever, Japanese Encephalitis(imojev) vaccine has to administered either concomitantly or wait 4 weeks after the BCG vaccines