Tuberculosis (TB) is not really common in the UK or the majority of developed countries, however I have found because of a higher risk due to our Indian background the NHS here strongly advised Dillon was vaccinated with the BCG. After researching the pros and cons my Husband and I decided Dillon should have his BCG vaccination at 16 weeks old, as suggested by the NHS vaccination schedule.
Pros and cons of BCG vaccination
- Has to be administered in the arm at either the hospital or by a specialist clinic
- Side effects from the vaccination are very rare
- The BCG vaccine is widely used and deemed safe
- Better to be protected against TB – prevention is better than cure!
- The BCG may leave a little scar on the arm
- Vaccination site may swell or blister and ooze a little – this is normal – it’s the reaction of the live tuberculosis bacteria on the body which produces antibodies at the same time
- The needle itself isn’t very large, less than 2mm goes into your babies skin. In fact, Dillon’s BCG was done so quickly at the hospital he didn’t even know he had been injected. The BCG differs from your babies routine vaccinations in that your baby will be injected with a live bacteria, plus the injection isn’t kept in the fridge like the usual vaccinations meaning your baby shouldn’t feel it so much
- TB in England is very low and the chance of you or your child catching it are also fairly low
- You or your child may have been exposed to TB unknowingly if your family background is from a country where TB is prominent
Looking after your baby’s BCG
The advice my family GP gave to me on caring for Dillon’s BCG which has developed into a small blister is:
- Keep the area dry and uncovered where possible
- Wear waterproof plasters when in the swimming pool or bath
- Try not to touch the BCG site at all
- You can clean the BCG site with cool boiled water and cotton wool
As with anything health related, if you are at all worried about your child’s BCG then definitely get it checked out by your family GP.