The BCG vaccine is a live attenuated strain derived from Mycobacterium bovis.
The neonatal UK vaccination programme is risk based. BCG is offered to:
- all infants living in areas of the UK where annual incidence of TB is 40/100,000 or greater;
- all infants where one or more parent or grandparent was born in a country where the annual incidence of TB is 40/100,000 or greater.
Analysis shows the vaccine to be 70 to 80% effective against the most severe forms of the disease, including TB meningitis in children.
There is currently a nationwide shortage of BCG but an unlicensed version, supported by Public Health England, should be available soon.
Previously published: 15/05/14, 04/05/15