Update on BCG vaccine - for parents and professionals (January 2017)
HRCH has been awarded the contract to administer BCG's across several areas , to specific groups only – please read the eligibility criteria:
If your baby is under 28 days your maternity service may be offering a recall service. Please check with the local maternity service to see if this is happening.
We appreciate parents’ anxiety about getting their infant their BCG vaccine, but they should be reassured that their child need to be living in close contact with adults with TB for several weeks / months before they can contract TB. Our priority at this time is to prevent TB Meningitis which has affected 6 babies in the past 10 years.
1. If your child was born between July 2015 and May 2016, there was no vaccine, so regretfully your child will not be prioritised for the new limited stock supply because they are now over 3 months old and have a reduced risk of meningitis since they will received other routine vaccinations.
2. If your child was born between 1st May and 31st August 2016 they will be eligible for a vaccine if they are living in a household with parents or grandparents from countries where the TB incidence rate is 40 cases per 100,000 or higher.
3. If your child is born after the 1st September 2016:
a. You will be offered at BCG at birth or within 28 days at a BCG clinic at your maternity unit in London.
b. If for some reason you were not offered this vacation and if you are living in a London borough where the TB incidence rate is 40 cases per 100,000 or higher or your infant is living in a household with parents or grandparents from countries where the TB incidence rate is 40 cases per 100,000 or higher, then you take your baby to your health visitor, midwife, GP or other clinician and they can refer you to a community BCG clinic.
4. We do not recommend private BCG vaccination since you have no assurance regarding the potency (strength) of these vaccines.
Unlicensed vaccine explained:
The current BCG is an unlicenced product. There is a global shortage of BCG vaccine that has caused breaks in vaccine supply to the national BCG immunisation programme. Our contracted supplier has not been able to supply us with BCG vaccine.
The risk of contracting TB in the UK remains low, however for eligible babies to still be able to receive BCG vaccine; Public Health England has worked with other suppliers and has secured a short-term supply of BCG vaccine.
This vaccine, made by InterVax, has been a WHO approved vaccine for many years and is used extensively across the globe. However the vaccine does not have a license in the UK.
What is the difference between a licensed and unlicensed vaccine?
All vaccines used in the UK are authorised by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) or the European Medicines Agency (EMA). While no medicine is completely risk free, a licence indicates that trials of the medicine’s safety and effectiveness have been carried out and the benefits of the medicine are believed to outweigh the risks.
Only when all the information about the vaccine has been accepted by the MHRA or EMA will they be given a licence and be produced and promoted by the manufacturers for general use. An unlicensed medicine may be licensed in other countries but not have a current licence in the UK because the manufacturer has not applied for one. In certain areas of healthcare, for example in childrens’ health, many medicines used are unlicensed. So, not having a UK licence does not mean the medicine is unsafe or untested.
Who has PHE asked for advice over the importation of unlicensed BCG vaccine?
Before importing BCG vaccine without a UK licence, PHE has taken advice from the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), the National Institute for Biological Standards and Control (NIBSC), the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) and the Department of Health (DH).
Unlicensed BCG vaccine is being imported into the UK in accordance with medicines legislation, which is permitted when there are shortages of a suitable licensed product. The MHRA has not objected to the importation of the Intervax vaccine.
PHE has also consulted with WHO and other European countries where the vaccine is in use. For the full leaflet is available from the www.gov.uk website.
Having taken on the contract we currently setting clinics up and and will soon have the service running, however this will take some time, so please be reassured that we will vaccinate your baby as soon as possible , there is a waiting list.
If you choose to take your baby on holiday please note we will not be putting babies travelling as a higher priority than others.
Areas covered by HRCH : -Bexley, Bromley, Greenwich, Sutton, Merton, Kingston, Richmond, Hounslow.
If you have a question not answered here please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your contact details.
The BCG tuberculosis (TB) vaccine is offered to babies through a referral process only for babies under 1 year old, living in Hounslow or Richmond.
All babies born at West Middlesex University Hospital are routinely offered the BCG vaccine . We are informed that West Middlesex Hospital will contact parents directly to offer a catch up programme.
In Hounslow, we routinely offer the BCG vaccine to all babies under 1 year old, regardless of which hospital they were born at. In Richmond there is a criteria list to complete to determine risk that needs to be met before babies are immunised If your baby lives in Hounslow or Richmond boroughs but was not born at West Middlesex Hospital - ask your health visitor about a referral.
There may be a delay in appointment bookings due to a national shortage of the vaccine currently.
Advice for parents on the BCG vaccination
Whilst it is unlikely that your baby if he /she does develop a temperature or become fretful,or if you have any concerns - discuss with your GP, Pharmacist or Phone the NHS advice line on 111 for advice on the use of paracetemol (Calpol).
Leave the injection site to air, do not cover with plasters.
You can bath your baby as normal.
The injection site may swell and be quite large, i.e. the size of a 10p coin or more. If the site is larger than a 10p coin, seek advice from your GP as soon as possible.
If redness or swelling moves away from the injection site, or if there is any swelling at the child’s armpit seek advice from your GP as soon as possible.
The injection site may also look like an abscess, and can take up to three months to heal. This is positive as it shows the vaccine and your child’s immune system is working.
If the site is oozing and you want to take your baby swimming, apply a dressing for a short time only.
Please do not squeeze the injection site or ulcer formed by the vaccine
If the site has not healed after 3 months, seek advice from your GP as your baby may require follow up treatment.
Your baby can still start their routine immunisations, however you should make sure that your baby is not given another injection in the same arm as the BCG for at least 3 months.
BCG team contact details
BCG team email: email@example.com)
Phone number for parents and professionals:
For babies residing in Hounslow, Richmond, Kingston, Sutton, and Merton: 020 3771 6050
For babies residing in Greenwich , Bexley, Bromley: 020 3771 6055
Please do not leave messages on both phones. This vaccine is routine and none urgent – calls will be returned but may take a 1-2 days.
If you need more information, see the NHS Choices website. There is a translation tool on the top left hand side of the screen.