BCG is a Live safe attenuated (weakened form) of Tuberculosis (TB)
BCG vaccination can be given safely to any person of any age, from new born through to old age. This is a once only vaccination in the UK and is highly recommended by the DH to specific groups at higher risk of exposure to TB.
BCG is a single once only injection given by specially trained nurses where there is evidence of a negative tuberculin skin test (mantoux).
People who have had TB in the past and those with a positive mantoux skin test. This is a live vaccine therefore conditions such as HIV or cancer is contra-indicated. Many people with conditions however can successfully receive BCG with specific nurse management. Those who have received a live vaccination within the last 4 weeks eg MMR or Yellow Fever should delay BCG vaccination by one month. However live vaccines can be given together on the same day.
Although no adverse reports, it is best to avoid BCG in pregnancy. BCG is not contra-indicated in breast feeding therefore can be given after delivery.
A mild local reaction at the BCG injection site is typical. A small blister like response and local reaction is to be expected and this is evidence that the vaccination has been successful, leaving a characteristic small scar.