BCG vaccine (against tuberculosis)
BCG vaccine prevents tuberculosis or TB, and it has been used since 1921. While it does not provide 100% protection against TB, it significantly decreases the chances of your baby getting this serious disease.
A single dose of BCG vaccine is administered routinely at birth in Pakistan. The vaccine is administered just beneath the skin. If the child misses the dose at birth, it can be administered later on as well.
All babies who get BCG vaccine will get a red lump where they had the injection after about a week. This becomes an ulcer (open sore) by about 2-3 weeks and then heals by about eight weeks leaving a small scar. The scar is one way we can tell if the child has had the vaccine.
A few babies (less than 1 in 20) will have side-effects. Side effects include:
- A large skin ulcer where the baby had the injection (the most common side effect - about three people in 100)
- Infection of the lymph nodes in the armpit (about one person in 100)
- Keloid scarring (very noticeable scarring on your skin). This does not happen very often and won't happen if the vaccine is given correctly.
- Severe immediate allergic reactions but these also do not happen very often.