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BCG vaccination... any thoughts?

(22 Posts)
tethersend Wed 26-Aug-09 12:24:27

Sorry if this isn't in the right place... not sure where to post.

I have just moved to east London with my 9 month old dd.

The health visitor has informed me that all babies in this borough have a BCG vaccination at their 6 week check, as TB is about here. DD has not had one, but HV suggests she does...

Just wanted to hear of any good/bad experiences with it- I'm not anti-vaccinations at all, but just want to know the pros and cons (does it scar? make them ill?) IYSWIM

Has anyone's DC had it done? Or refused it? Would you do it again?

frakkinpannikinAGRIPPA Wed 26-Aug-09 12:33:26

I had it done as a baby. If TB is rife in the local area then I would get it done because TB can be very serious, especially in babies. I don't mean to sound racist or anything here but if you are in an area with a high immigrant/refugee/transient population then the risk of TB is much higher because those people are very unlikely to have been vaccinated and unlikely to get vaccinated so TB can lurk fairly easily.

It does scar and it is quite painful but better to have it done as a baby when they won't remember than have it done at 11 when your arm swells up and you can't do any work for the rest of the day (even though they do it on the opposite arm so I think some people were pulling the proverbial leg). Personally I would follow the HVs advice and get it done just to be safe.

Tyniclogs Wed 26-Aug-09 12:35:30

Hiya, I'm in East London too and both my toddler and 8 week old have had it. It will scar but it's just a little mark at the top of the arm (I have one and it's not noticable unless you're looking for it). It will turn into a green boil first which looks horrid but doesn't bother them at all. I would REALLY reccomend having it done as this area has the highest rates of TB in the country. Hope this helps, if you have any more questions just shout.

leisurely Wed 26-Aug-09 20:20:07

DD had hers at birth. Really, within an hour of being born she had measles, BCG, hep A and polio. We were living in a country where those diseases were rife. I knew nothing about it, general anaesthetics. Don't you just love them.
IMVHO, if it is something that has been recommended, DO IT!

BelleWatling Wed 26-Aug-09 20:40:40

Do it - I live in another inner London borough where it is offered. I know the risk of contracting it is low and close contact required but I presume your baby / child will be going to nursery and pre-school in your borough and may need the protection, you don't know.

You should know the needle is quite big compared to the 5 in 1 and the scar comes out in about 6-8 weeks but my DS was fine.

I have a friend whose brother died of TB - it's still prevalent in parts of the world a few hours flight away and it's on the rise here.

PrettyCandles Wed 26-Aug-09 20:54:28

When I had my first two dc we lived in London, in a borough with one of the highest rates of TB in the UK. The dc were born outside the borough, but had they been born in the local hospital they would have been offered BCG on the day they were born. I would have refused it at that point, as I don't think we or the life we lead put us at any particular risk despite the area. (I don't like to give a newborn anything other than milk if at all possible! They didn't have Vit K, either.)

They did eventually have the BCG, ds1 at about 6m, and dd at 6w, as by then we were going to baby groups. I was todl that the earlier you have the BCG, the less trauma and the less scarring. It made no difference for my dc. They weren't ill, the DTPHIb jabs made them iller. But when ds1's scab came off, it burst with copious green pus. Looked utterly gruesome, but was fine, just needed a day or two's careful cleaning and care until it rescabbed.

Their scars are slightly more noticeable than on their peers, but then I had the BCG at 13 and my scar is unusually massive, so maybe it's an inherited tendency.

weegiemum Wed 26-Aug-09 20:59:28

My 3 had it at 5, 3 and 16 months as we were about to travel to Latin America with them. This was along with hepA, hepB, typhoid and rabies!

You have to have the heaf test first, which is a stamp-like thing on the lower arm, to see if you have already been exposed. then the jag is, I think, 10 days or so later.

It was worst for our 5 year old - she still remembers it. The other 2 don't. Dd2 who was the youngest had the worst reaction - green pus etc - but this is because the jag has to go in between the layers of skin (intradermal) rather than into the fat below.

I'm glad we've had it done. It will save all the cacking about I remember me and my classmates having at age 11/12.

tethersend Wed 26-Aug-09 21:31:29

Thanks for responses... you all make very good points and have reassured me that it's the right thing to do; I just needed a shove!

I have booked an appointment for next week smile

thirtysomething Wed 26-Aug-09 21:37:00

My DS had it at around 12 months - was a simple injction, no reaction, no scar really. Am not certain he won't have to have it again at school though - at the time they said it depends how long his immunity lasts.

Sidge Wed 26-Aug-09 21:37:07

BCG isn't given routinely as part of a blanket vaccination programme any more - we all had it at school when we were about 12 or 13 but now it's targeted.

Under 5s now don't need a Mantoux test (Heaf test not done anymore). They just get BCG.

The vaccine is given with a small needle, but as it is given intradermally it leaves a bleb, which is like a little blister. It doesn't seem to cause any pain but can look alarming when it goes a bit mucky. The vaccine itself doesn't seem to cause any systemic side effects, babies don't seem to become unwell with fever etc like they can with other vaccines.

WelliesAndPyjamas Wed 26-Aug-09 21:47:50

My 2 were given it earlier this year - DS1 was 5 at the time and DS2 was 2 months - due to frequent travel to a country where it is needed.

No temperatures or similar reactions from either of them. Just the site itself goes through a few icky stages and takes months to finish healing. In fact, 4 months on and DS1's scar is a dry pink circle and DS2's one is still swollen and a stronger pink. Be prepared for the green pus stage which I hadn't been warned about - I took him to the GP who prescribed an antiiotic cream, bless him, thinking it was infeected and being very unfamiliar with BCGs hmmgrin My HV put me right as I bumped in to her in the corridor!

I would get it done if it has been advised.

WelliesAndPyjamas Wed 26-Aug-09 21:48:52

antiiotic antibiotic

pasturesnew Wed 26-Aug-09 21:49:53

Am in London too and DS had it whenever it was that HV told us to, can't exactly remember but he was still a baby. He didn't seem to notice it at all, to be honest, and did not have any reaction. It surprised me how easy it was. Hope that helps.

WelliesAndPyjamas Wed 26-Aug-09 21:53:12

just remembered something which might be relevant to you, OP... before getting the jab, DS1 had to have a skin test carried out to see if he had already come in to contact with TB and that was a bit painful for him. HOwever that may be only because he had lived abroad for half his life until then and was at a higher risk of exposure.

novax Fri 24-Sep-10 15:42:04

Message deleted

frenchfancy Fri 24-Sep-10 19:50:29

DD1 and DD2 had it at 10 days old. DD3 was due to have it here at 4yrs; but they no longer give it as they see it as unecessary.

I have never had the jab, and TBH have no intention of having it. It is the worst jab they have by far.

I really don't know what the chances are of catching TB in London, but I do know that if you live on the border of the boroughs then one borough (Brent for example) gives the jab routinely whereas Camden doesn even though the children are all going to the same playgroups.

camflower Tue 28-Sep-10 20:35:12

it was fine but the scar took months and months to heal - far longer than i expected. but it did, eventually!

pinkmagic1 Tue 28-Sep-10 20:41:59

Mine had it as babies due their mixed background and regularly visiting family in a country where it is still fairly rife. It didn't bother them in the slightest, although they did get a nasty looking blister which lasted some months. Again though, this didn't seem to bother them.

moragbellingham Wed 29-Sep-10 21:49:05

Camden is definitely a borough recommending TB vaccination.
You'd be suprised how common the infection is. It takes at least 6 months of continual treatment once contracted and compliance is therefore varied.

Cmekrru Sat 25-Jun-11 12:49:14

How long did it take for the blister to appear my baby just had it a week ago was a pink spot now a smaller pink spot. Seems to be getting better rather than worse. Worried it won't work!

Icoulddoitbetter Sat 25-Jun-11 12:54:07

My DS had it at 9 weeks. He has a tiny scar and was fine with it.
TB is a horrible illness, the treatment regime is very tough so better to prevent it if you can.

But I was surprised a few weeks ago that the BCG is only effective for about 15 years, I had no idea!

Woodlands Sun 26-Jun-11 19:43:43

cmekkru my DS had it at about 3 weeks old here in east London and it never scarred at all (he's now 11 months). We were told it would form a lump and ooze pus and all sorts but nothing. I checked with the HV a few months ago in case it meant it hadn't worked, but she said it was fine to have no reaction, no problem.

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