BCG tuberculosis vaccine

Changes to this service due to the Covid-19 pandemic

Please make sure you attend your appointment promptly to allow us to maintain social distancing. Only one parent should attend. No other children should come with you.  

We provide the BCG vaccination to babies from birth to 12 months old, living in Bexley, Bromley, Greenwich, Kingston, Wandsworth, Merton, Richmond, Sutton and Hounslow who have a parent or grandparent born in a country where the annual incidence of TB is 40 in 100,000 or greater (see the WHO website for current countries).

Our staff will be following Public Health England guidance on the use of PPE.

Aged between 28 days and 12 months and living in the borough of Hounslow.

Aged between 28 days and 12 months old, living in Bexley, Bromley, Greenwich, Kingston, Merton, Richmond and Sutton and have a parent or grandparent born in a country where the annual incidence of TB is 40 in 100,000 or greater (see the WHO website for current countries).

Babies only need to have one BCG vaccination and some maternity hospitals have started to administer the BCG vaccination before 28 days, so please check whether the baby has received a BCG before referring them.

TB isn't very common in the UK. There were 6,240 cases of TB in the UK in 2015. Rates of TB are higher in some communities of non-UK born people. This is largely because of their connections to areas of the world where rates of TB are high.

Yes. TB is spread when a person with TB in their lungs or throat, coughs or sneezes and somebody else breathes in the droplets of saliva containing the infection.
However, TB is not as infectious as the common cold or flu.

You usually need to spend a long time in close contact with an infected person before you catch TB. For example, infections usually spread between family members who are living in the same house.

You are unlikely to catch TB by sitting or standing next to someone who is infected. TB cannot be spread through touch, or sharing cutlery, bedding or clothes.

Please bring your child and their red book to the appointment. Please be aware that onsite parking is not available at all the clinics so you will need to allow plenty of time to park. 

Before the nurse can administer the BCG vaccine, the nurse will ask you some questions to check that it is safe to proceed to vaccination. This will include some personal medical questions as the BCG is a live vaccine and therefore cannot be given to the baby in certain situations for safety reasons.

Please do not worry. This might mean that the BCG immunisation is delayed to a future date when the baby is well or when further medical information has been provided for the nurse to proceed with administering the BCG immunisation.

The parent/carer who accompanies the baby to the BCG appointment will be asked the following questions:

  • Is your child well?
  • Have you or your child received any treatment for cancers or taken steroids in the last 6 months?
  • Do you or your baby suffer from any immune deficiency or are either of you immunocompromised/have HIV?
    *If mum is HIV positive, please bring documentary evidence from the consultant showing the baby’s three clear HIV blood tests.  
  • Has your child come into contact with anyone with Tuberculosis (TB)?
  • Has the baby been out of the UK for more than 3 months to a high-risk country?

We will ensure all questions are asked in a discreet and confidential manner. Any medical letters you provide to the nurse, will be returned to you before you leave the appointment.

If you wish to discuss any of these questions above in more detail prior to the appointment, please phone the BCG Immunisation team on this number: 020 3771 6050 or 6055.

A nurse will then be able to phone you back to discuss any queries or questions you might have. You can also email the BCG immunisation team at hrch.bcg@nhs.net

You may notice these reactions following the BCG vaccination:

  • A slight swelling, redness and tenderness at the injection site followed by a local lesion. 
  • Some weeks later, this lesion evolves unto a small ulcer. After some months this ulcer will heal leaving a small, flat scar. 
  • A slight swelling of the lymph nodes in the armpit may be experienced. 

It is not necessary to protect the site from becoming wet during washing or bathing. The injection site is best left uncovered to facilitate healing.                      

Aftercare

The ulcer should be encouraged to dry and abrasion (such as tight clothing on the site) should be avoided. If the site oozes, a temporary dry dressing may be used until a scab forms however it is essential that air is not excluded. 

  • If absolutely essential (for example for swimming), a watertight plaster may be used but only for the shortest amount of time as it may delay healing and cause a large scar.
  • It is advised that other vaccines are not given in the left arm for 3 months after the BCG vaccination however injections in the other limbs are fine to have. 

When to seek advice

  • If the injection site becomes bigger than a 10p coin
  • If the redness and swelling moves away from the injection site
  • If your baby develops any lumps or swelling in the armpit
  • If the injection site has not healed by 12 weeks

Contact details for advice

Telephone: 020 3771 6050
 

Telephone: 020 3771 6050

Email: hrch.bcg@nhs.net

Please do not leave messages. This vaccine is routine and non-urgent. Calls will be returned but may take 1-2 days.

Referral information

Referral form