All about BCG vaccine or Bacillus Calmette Guerin vaccine for tuberculosis TB. B stands for Bacillus (a bacteria), C for Calmette and G for Guerin. Calmette and Guerin are the names of the two French scientists who developed this vaccine against tuberculosis in the early part of this century.
All about BCG vaccine explained !
Whether BCG vaccine really protects has been a matter of controversy in recent years.
Some doctors are of the opinion that there is a great deal of evidence that BCG vaccine offered definite protection against childhood tuberculosis, only very meager evidence existed against this time-honoured concept.
The experts strongly recommend that the present policy of giving BCG vaccine to every child be continued.
So, as your doctor would tell you, your child must get BCG as soon as possible after birth, preferably before he is three months old. Many centres do not in fact discharge the mother and the newborn unless the latter has received BCG.
The standard site for giving BCG vaccine is the left shoulder. A very small needle and special tuberculin syringe are used to inject the vaccine into the skin. For mass vaccination the jet injector is of distinct value.
The vaccination is fairly safe. No fever is encountered. Leave the vaccination site as such. Do not apply dressing or antiseptic powder over it.
In two to three weeks, it grows in size. Then it either grows into a shallow ulcer or disappears. The ulcer heals in about eight weeks time, leaving a small scar.
Sometimes there may be noteworthy exceptions to the just described course of BCG vaccination.
An accelerated response with a nodule or red angry ulcer at the injection site after only two to three days and lasting about three weeks is noticed.
Report it to the doctor. It is possible your child is already having tuberculous infection.
Yet another category of infants develop a significant enlargement of glands in the armpit and/or neck. The swelling may progressively increase in size and start discharging pus. A medical consultation will be in order.
Lastly, there is some evidence that BCG vaccine also given protection against leprosy (a progressive and contagious disease characterised by involvement of skin and nerves) and leukemia (a sort of blood cancer).
Many child specialists are now making use of it in investigating suspected cases of tuberculosis.