In September 2021, Public Health England released new rules surrounding the timing of BCG vaccination, increasing the minimum age of vaccination to 28 days. This has been implemented in line with a pilot disease screening programme that tests eligible newborns for Severe Combined Immunodeficiency (SCID), the outcome of which becomes available by the time the baby is 6 weeks old. It is important that we wait for the result of this test before giving the BCG vaccine.
What is SCID screening?
All newborn babies in the UK are currently offered blood spot screening (heel prick test) that looks for 9 rare diseases, including sickle cell and cystic fibrosis. The NHS is considering introducing an additional test for Severe Immunodeficiency (SCID), a name given to a group of rare, inherited disorders that cause major abnormalities in the immune system. Affected infants have an increased risk of life-threatening infections and will normally become severely unwell in the first few months of life. Without treatment they will rarely live past their first birthday. About 14 babies a year are born in England with SCID.
The evaluation of this testing, which began on 6th September 2021, is taking place in 6 areas across England and will cover around 60% of new born babies. It is running alongside the existing blood spot screening and the intention is to roll it out nationally once the 2 year evaluation has been made.
Why does this affect the BCG vaccination?
Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) is a live attenuated vaccine that can cause problems if given to an immunocompromised person. Treatment for SCID is more complicated if the child has received the BCG vaccine, so it is important that if your child has been tested. We wait for a negative result before vaccinating.
What we need from you:
If your child was included in the SCID programme, you will need to provide a letter that confirms the negative result of screening.
If your child was born outside of the programme areas and therefore, not included in the SCID programme, we will need to see a letter confirming this.
In either case, please bring the letter with you to your appointment, as well as your child’s vaccination book.
Nb. If your child was born before 1st September 2021, before the programme was introduced, no letter will be needed.
For more information on:
Other Childhood Vaccinations
BCG Vaccine for Children
At the Fleet Street Clinic in Central London, we have been providing specialist vaccination services for over 20 years. Our excellent relationship with a range of suppliers enables us to maintain good stock levels of vaccines, even where there may be supply shortages elsewhere.
We run a BCG clinic once a week for babies and children under the age of 6. Our baby/child BCG clinic runs on Wednesday’s.
Why have the BCG Vaccine?
The BCG vaccine protects against tuberculosis. TB is a bacterial infection that affects the lungs in most cases but can affect other parts of the body such as the bones and kidneys. Typical of many bacterial infections, tuberculosis can be spread through long-lasting exposure to an infected person via sneezing or coughing. The BCG vaccine is a proven way to ensure protection against the tuberculosis bacteria.
Vaccination for Babies and Children Under 6 years of age
The BCG vaccination is not offered to all children by the National Health Service. Some NHS boroughs do offer it as routine but are unable to supply at present due to the national shortage. The TB vaccination has to be sourced privately instead. With two decades of experience providing vaccination services, the Fleet Street Clinic provides a safe, child-friendly environment and the guarantee of an expert medical support service.
To protect your baby with the BCG Vaccine, you can book an appointment online.