BCG vaccine for newborn is one of those recommended vaccines for babies. But what is it for? This article discusses what this vaccine is all about and why it’s essential for your child to have it.
What is BCG Vaccine?
Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) is a vaccine against tuberculosis (TB). BCG vaccination is for infants and children, and those who are at increased risk of TB infection and disease.
The BCG vaccine is not available in all countries but is recommended for infants in high-risk countries. Such as those with a high incidence of tuberculosis. The BCG vaccine for newborns is usually given soon after birth, and a booster dose is often given later in childhood.
The vaccine is usually well-tolerated. But side effects can include local reactions at the injection site and fever. The BCG vaccine for newborn is an essential tool in the fight against tuberculosis. It also offers protection against a disease that remains a significant health threat in many parts of the world.
Image source: iStock
When Is the BCG Vaccine Given?
Babies get the BCG vaccine usually within a few days of birth. It’s by injection into the skin of the upper arm. A small amount of blood may be taken from the heel of the baby’s foot at the same time, to check that the vaccine has worked.
Babies with low birth weight or very premature babies don’t get this vaccine. If your baby is born early, they will get the vaccine when they reach a certain birth weight.
BCG Vaccine and Age
The BCG vaccine is a vaccine that helps protect young children against tuberculosis. But, the vaccine is not 100% effective and does not provide lifelong protection.
As a result, the age at which they can get the vaccine can play a role in its effectiveness. The BCG vaccine may be less effective in older children and adults. As a result, talk to your child’s doctor about the best time to get the vaccine.
BCG Vaccine Dose at Birth
It’s at birth when they give the vaccine. If necessary they can get it later in life. The BCG vaccine schedule consists of only one dose. And the usual dose is 0.1 mL.
BCG Vaccine Route
The BCG vaccine is injected into the skin most of the time. And given by mouth or nose, depending on the type of vaccine. Sometimes it’s in the upper arm. A small amount of the vaccine is under the skin and into the muscle. The muscles of the upper arm area are where the vaccine works best.
Baby having a vaccine
Does the BCG Vaccine Hurt?
As anyone who has been vaccinated knows, there is usually a little pain and discomfort. It is because the needle used to deliver the vaccine must go through the skin and into the muscle to be effective. The BCG vaccine is no different.
The vaccine injected into the arm usually takes about two weeks to start working. While considered one of the most effective vaccines available, it can also be painful.
The good news is that the pain is only temporary and usually lasts only a few days. In rare cases, people may experience more severe side effects such as fever, swelling, and redness at the injection site.
But, these side effects are usually mild and go away. So, while getting the BCG vaccine may not be pleasant, it is worth it to help protect your child from disease.
How Can You Reduce Pain After the BCG Vaccine?
You can do several things to reduce pain and discomfort after receiving the BCG vaccine.
- First, take over-the-counter pain medication such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. For babies, ask your child’s paediatrician first before giving them any medication.
- You can also apply a cold compress to the injection site for 10-15 minutes.
- Keep the injection site clean and dry.
- Finally, make sure to drink plenty of fluids and get rest.
These simple tips can stop or lessen the pain and discomfort after receiving the BCG vaccine.
Where Is the BCG Vaccine Given?
Newborns get their BCG vaccine within the first few days of their lives. It’s most often administered at the hospital or clinic.
Are There Any Risks or Side Effects of the BCG Vaccine?
The BCG vaccine is one of the most controversial vaccines out there. Some people believe it’s a life-saving vaccine that helps protect against tuberculosis. While others believe it does more harm than good. So, what’s the truth? Is the BCG vaccine safe for babies?
The answer is complex. The BCG vaccine has some risks. But these are minor. According to UK National Health Service, the most common side effects include:
- Soreness or discharge of the injected area
- High temperature (fever)
- Swollen glands under the armpit in the arm
In rare cases, the vaccine can cause more severe complications, such as:
But, it’s important to remember that these complications are rare. And the vaccine’s benefits far outweigh the risks.
So, should you get the BCG vaccine for your baby? This decision is up to you and your doctor. Considering the vaccine, weigh the risks and benefits before deciding.
BGC vaccinated baby | Image from Pexels
BCG Vaccine Scar
A scar is often the only evidence that a person had a BGC vaccine. Most of the time, the BCG vaccine scar is on the upper arm. It is a small, circular scar raised from the skin.
The scar may be faint or visible, depending on a person’s skin tone. The scar may also be itchy or tender, but it is not dangerous. In most cases, the BCG vaccine scar will fade over time. But it will always be a reminder of the protection against tuberculosis.
BCG Vaccine Allergy
In rare cases, people can have an allergic reaction to the vaccine. The symptoms of a BCG vaccine allergy include redness, swelling, and itching at the injection site. In more severe cases, people may experience shortness of breath, wheezing, or a rash.
If you experience any of these symptoms after getting the BCG vaccine, go to the doctor right away. While allergic reactions to the vaccine are rare, they can be severe. With prompt treatment, most people make a full recovery.
What Will Happen if My Baby Doesn’t Have a BCG Vaccine?
Babies usually receive the BCG vaccine soon after birth. This vaccine helps protect against tuberculosis (TB). It’s a serious infection that can damage the lungs. If your baby does not receive the BCG vaccine, they will be at increased risk of developing TB.
In some cases, unvaccinated babies may also be infectious. They’re able to spread the disease to others. Thus, ensure your baby receives the BCG vaccine according to the recommended schedule.
If you are unsure if your baby is vaccinated or not, you can check with your healthcare provider.
BCG Vaccine in Singapore
The BCG vaccination coverage for infants and newborns in Singapore is over 97 per cent every year. This is according to the Ministry of Health. It’s since 1987. They discontinued BCG revaccination by the School Health Service on 1st July 2001.
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