The BCG vaccine is a live attenuated strain of mycobacterium tuberculosis which confers a useful degree of immunity in some individuals. It is given via intradermal injection (1).
BCG immunisation should be offered to (2):
People in the following occupational groups, with direct TB patient contact or contact with infectious materials, should be vaccinated with BCG.
1. Healthcare worker (HCW) or laboratory worker, who has either direct contact with TB patients or with potentially infectious clinical materials or derived isolates.
2. Veterinary and staff such as abattoir workers who handle animals or animal materials, which could be infected with TB.
BCG is recommended for unvaccinated, tuberculin-negative individuals in these occupations. BCG efficacy data in adults over the age of 35 years is scarce. Nevertheless, because these groups have a high exposure risk, and given the absence of safety concerns, it is likely that benefits outweigh risks for vaccinating individuals over the age of 35 years with BCG. In addition, there are a number of occupational groups who are working with persons at higher risk of acquiring TB. These include staff working with prisoners, homeless persons, persons with drug and alcohol misuse and those who work with refugees and asylum seekers. BCG vaccination may also be considered for these groups.
It should be noted that the risk of exposure of HCWs other than those listed in the category above is unlikely to exceed the background risk of TB the general population and therefore vaccination is not routinely required
BCG may also be used as immunotherapy in some forms of bladder tumours.
Last edited 04/2019