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BCG vaccine

Name of the Generic: BCG vaccine BCG-VAX-een [BCG-VAX-een]                                              Formula for dosage: Percutaneous powder for injection (50 mg)
Drug Class: Bacterial vaccines

What is the BCG vaccine?

The BCG vaccine is used to protect against the spread of tuberculosis (TB) among children and adults who have never been affected by the disease but are negative for tuberculosis. BCG vaccination is suggested for those who live in close proximity to someone suffering from tuberculosis.This vaccine helps your body create immunity to TB. However, it cannot cure an active disease you are already suffering from.

Like all vaccines as a whole, the BCG vaccine might not offer immunity from illness for all people.The BCG vaccine is also employed for other purposes that are not covered in this guideline.

Side effects of BCG vaccine

Contact a medical professional immediately. Get medical attention immediately if you notice symptoms that indicate an allergic reaction, such as difficulty breathing, hives, or swelling of your lips, face, or tongue.

The BCG vaccine may cause serious side effects. Consult your doctor immediately. If you suffer from:

  • Bleeding, ulcers, or any other skin-related changes that are not expected after the injection.
  • An extreme swelling of the skin that lasts for more than two or three days.
  • Excessive temperature (103 points or more).
  • Loss in appetite; reduction in weight.
  • Extreme tiredness.
  • Bone pain in your legs.

A few side effects could occur for as long as 5 months after receiving the BCG vaccine. These adverse effects could persist for a few weeks.

Common adverse effects of the BCG vaccine could include:

  • Moderate fever and influenza-like symptoms.
  • Muscles ache.
  • Neck or arm glands swollen or your underarm.
  • The appearance of small bumps or tenderness on your skin after the medication was injected.

This is not a comprehensive list of possible side effects, and other effects may also be present. Contact your doctor for advice regarding medical adverse effects. You can report any adverse reactions to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.


It is not recommended to get this vaccination if you have an immune system that is weak, caused by a condition such as HIV or cancer, or due to the use of steroids or chemotherapy radiation.

Before you take this drug

It is not recommended to get the BCG vaccine if you're sensitive to it or if you suffer from weak immunity that is caused by:

  • HIV or AIDS.
  • Leukemia, lymphoma, or other cancers.
  • Radiation, chemotherapy treatment, or radiation.
  • Steroid medication.

Inform your doctor if you were ever diagnosed with:

  • A positive TB skin test.
  • An immune system disorder that has been passed down from generation to generation (in the family).

It is unclear if the BCG vaccine can cause harm to a baby who is not yet born. But it should not be used by women planning to become pregnant. Do not breastfeed. Prior to receiving the BCG vaccine Your doctor will run an examination of your skin to make sure that you don't have tuberculosis. The BCG vaccine is not administered using a needle and syringe, as many others are. Instead, the BCG vaccination is in the form of a fluid that's injected directly into the upper arm. A multi-pronged needle is used to poke the skin with the liquid, allowing the vaccine to reach the superficial skin layers. These needle sticks aren't very deep; however, they can cause minor discomfort and bleeding.You could experience flu-like symptoms for up to two days following the BCG vaccine. Make an appointment with your doctor immediately in the event of a fever of 103 °F or more.

Within 10–14 days of receiving the vaccine, you will be able to see tiny red bumps appearing on the skin where the needle device and vaccine were put in. The red bumps will gradually increase in size after 4 to 6 weeks, then shrink and fade. After 6 months, you'll likely see little to no marks.The BCG vaccine contains a live tuberculosis strain that may "shed" from your injection site. It means that for a brief period after receiving the vaccine, your sore from the vaccination could be infectious and may be spread to other things or anyone who comes into contact with the area.

Keep the sore covered by cloths or a light gauze dressing for a minimum of 24 hours. Inform your physician if you are experiencing any sudden skin conditions or severe inflammation, lesions, or oozing from the area where the needles were placed. These reactions may occur at least 5 months after you have received the BCG vaccine. It is recommended to have an additional TB skin test within two to three months after receiving your BCG vaccine.

What happens if I miss a dose?

The vaccine is typically given in only one dose. It is possible to require an additional dose in the event that your skin test for TB remains negative for two to three months after the one-time BCG shot.

What happens if I overdose?

Since the vaccine is administered by a health specialist, it is not likely for an overdose to occur.

What should be avoided?

Do not touch your sore after vaccination for at least 24 hours.

Interaction with other drugs

Before receiving this vaccine, inform your doctor of any other vaccines you've taken in the last 30 days.

Inform your physician about any medication you take, in particular:

  • An antibiotic.
  • Medications that can weaken your immune system, such as chemotherapy drugs, steroids, cancer medicine, and other medications to stop organ donation rejection.

This list is not comprehensive. Other medications can affect the BCG vaccine, such as prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal remedies. There are many possible interactions between drugs that are included here.