The BCG vaccination provides protection against tuberculosis, but it is no longer given to all children in the UK. However, the vaccine is still available if you want your child to have it.
The BCG vaccine is an injection that can protect against certain form of tuberculosis (TB), including tuberculosis meningitis. It is usually given in childhood as this is when the vaccination is most effective. The vaccine contains a weakened form of TB that can stimulate an immune response. The immune system will learn to recognise TB so that it is able to detect and defend against infections in the future.
The BCG vaccine is no longer given as a routine childhood vaccination, but there are some children in the UK who could benefit from getting the jab. You might want to arrange a private BCG vaccination for your child if he or she is at greater risk of catching TB. This could be because:
All school children in the UK used to be given the BCG vaccination as part of their routine childhood immunisations. Tuberculosis used to be much more common in the UK. In the 1950s, there were about 50,000 cases every year. Although TB is still present it is much rarer and is usually only found in certain areas. It is therefore unnecessary for most children to be vaccinated as the chances of them developing TB are so low. The vaccine is now only recommended for children who are at higher risk of TB.