Tuberculosis vaccine (BCG)

bcg vaccine

What is BCG vaccine?

– BCG vaccine protects infants’ agonist tuberculosis. The letters B.C.G stand for Bacilli Calmette –Guerin. Bcille describes the shape of a bacterium; Calmette and Guerin are the names of people who developed the vaccine.

– BCG vaccine comes in powder. It must be reconstituted with diluents before used.

– Should be kept at 2°C – 8°C after reconstitution.

– Must be discarded after six hours or at end of immunization session, which comes first.


How safe is BCG vaccine and what potential side – effects are?

• Most children do have a reaction at the site of injection. Normally, when BCG vaccine is injected a small raised lump appears at the injection site.

• Usually disappears within 30 minutes. After about two weeks a red sore forms that is about the size of the end of an unsharpened pencil. The sore remains for another two weeks and then heals. A small scar about 5 mm across remains

• This is a sign that the child has been effectively immunized

 Other reactions include:

• Swelling or abscesses, sometimes the glands in a child’s armpit or near the elbow swell up after injection with BCG vaccine, may develop an abscess. Swollen glands or abscesses occur because an unsterile needle or syringe was used, too much vaccine was injected, or most commonly, the vaccine was injected incorrectly under the skin instead of in its top layer.

• There are very few serious reactions following BCG vaccine. Generalized infection due to BCG vaccination occurs at a rate of five per million doses of vaccine given, primarily in HIV – infected persons or those with severe immune deficiencies


Administration Summary of BCG Vaccine

Type of vaccine

Live bacterial

Number of doses



At or as soon as possible after birth




Symptomatic HIV infection

Adverse reactions

Local abscess, regional lymphadenitis: rare, distant spread to osteomyelitis, disseminated disease

Special precautions

Correct intradermal administration is essential. A special syringe and needle is used for the administration of BCG vaccine


0.05 ml

Injection site

Outer upper left arm or shoulder

Injection type



Store between 2 C-

Vaccine may be frozen for long term storage but not diluents

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