1. What is Tuberculosis?

Tuberculosis (TB) is a serious disease which usually affects the lungs and sometimes other parts of the body. It spreads to healthy people by germs coughed up from the lungs of someone who has the disease.

2. How can I protect my baby?

BCG is a small injection into the skin of the left upper arm. It is very good at protecting small children from the serious forms of Tuberculosis (TB).

3. Who should have a BCG?

There are only a small number of babies who meet the criteria for this vaccination. It is not routinely given to all babies.
Neonatal BCG is offered to infants at increased risk of Tuberculosis defined as those who:

• will be living in a house or family/whanau with a person with either current tuberculosis or a past history of tuberculosis.

• have one or both parents who identify as being Pacific people.

• have parents or household members who within the last five years lived for a period of six months or longer ** in countries where there is a high incidence of tuberculosis.


• during their first five years will be living for 3 months or longer in a high incidence country.*

*All countries except Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Holland, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, New Zealand, Norway, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland, the UK and USA.

**This indication is not absolute. Vaccination is usually advisable if the adult is foreign born and had spent at least six months in a high incidence country within the past five years



4. When is the best time for my baby to have a BCG?

The best time for your baby to have a BCG is within a few days of birth. This may be arranged while you are still in hospital or at a Community Clinic. Talk to your midwife or GP. You will be asked to sign a consent form.

5. Does a BCG cost money?

BCG vaccinations are free to eligible clients.

6. What normally happens after a BCG?

• A small red sore may appear at the site of the injection
after one to six weeks. This takes a few weeks to heal.

• It will leave a small scar at the injection site.

Sometimes the sore may weep for 2 months. This is a normal reaction. It is best to cover the weeping sore with a dry dressing (gauze not sticking plaster).

7. You need to contact the Public Health Nurse if:

• An abscess develops at the site
• A sore develops in the first two days after the injection.
• The weeping from the sore continues for longer than two months



© Auckland Regional Public Health