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
Many people in the UK view tuberculosis as a Victorian disease, but in fact even today, 5000 people a year are affected by TB.
World TB day gives the opportunity to raise awareness of tuberculosis and lead to fewer cases. An easy way to help stop the spread TB is by having a BCG vaccine, which can be given to newborn babies soon after birth.
In some parts of London, the BCG is not readily available on the NHS, in which case you might consider getting the BCG vaccine privately.
BCG Vaccine for Children
At the Fleet Street Clinic in Central London, we have been providing specialist vaccination services for over 20 years.
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.
BCG Vaccine Shortage in the UK
As the media has reported, the UK is in short supply of the BCG vaccine, impacted by global shortages.
The BCG vaccination gives worthwhile protection against tuberculosis, a serious infection spread by coughs and sneezes. In 2014, more than 6,500 TB cases were reported in the UK. Babies most at risk of contracting TB are those living in London and the Midlands, so if you live in these areas it is strongly recommended to have your baby inoculated.
At the Fleet Street Clinic, we have over 20 years experience as a specialist vaccination centre. We have a good supply of the BCG vaccine and run a designated BCG clinic for babies and children on Wednesday’s each week. All our vaccines are administered by highly qualified nurses or doctors, who will be happy to answer any queries or concerns.
What is TB?
TB is a bacterial infection spread through coughs and sneezes and affects the lungs, lymph glands, bones, and nervous system.
Where is the clinic?
The Fleet Street Clinic is located in Central London. Our address is 29 Fleet Street, London EC4Y 1AA.