BCG or bacille Calmette-Guerin is a vaccine administered to prevent Tuberculosis (TB). It is also effective in keeping meningitis and miliary disease at bay. It is currently the only vaccine available to combat Tuberculosis which is an undeniable threat in developing countries.
The BCG vaccine contains live strains of weakened bacterium, closely associated to the bacterium that causes TB in humans. The vaccine goes on to stimulate the immune system but does not make a healthy individual, sick.
The BCG vaccine is given in one dose and is done via an injection.
Who is given the BCG vaccine?
1. Babies who are born in countries where TB is on the rise (developing countries like India). 2. An older child who wasn't vaccinated earlier who is in a high risk country. 3. Adults living in or travelling to high risk countries.
How it works
The weakened bacterium is introduced via an injection, usually in the upper arm. The immune system is stimulated as the bacterium mimics an infection. As a result of this, antibodies are produced to fight off TB if contracted in the future.
Common side effects
There can be mild side effects on being administered the TB injection. These are: 1.The BCG injection scar: A few weeks after the shot has been administered, a scar about 7mm wide will come up at the site of the TB injection. 2.High Fever on the night of the BCG vaccination. 3.An abscess at the injection site.