Information for parents regarding BCG vaccinations (updated November 2016)

BCG vaccine has been commissioned by Public Health England (PHE) to be delivered in community clinics throughout our four NELFT London Boroughs; Barking and Dagenham, Waltham Forest, Redbridge and Havering to children (infants) aged less than one year old.

A global shortage of the vaccine since 2015 continued into May 2016. In June 2016 PHE secured a limited amount of InterVax BCG from Canada, this became available in late July 2016. Guidance was given by NHSE to providers to vaccinate newborn babies up to the age of 3 months who are living in a household with parents and grandparents from countries where the TB incidence rate is 40 cases per 100,000 or greater.

In view of the continued shortage of BCG vaccine, NHS England and Public Health England have reviewed the current delivery plan and have now provided us with a new pathway, for babies born on 1st September 2016 onwards. Below is the most recent guidance and message from NHS England issued on 4th November 2016:

We apologise for any miscommunication about BCG stock, and appreciate your anxiety but please be reassured that your baby needs to be living in close contact with adults with TB for several months before they could contract TB.

Our priority at this time is to prevent TB Meningitis which has affected 6 babies in the past 10 years’. Babies who are over 6-8 weeks old will be getting their infant vaccinations as part of their primary vaccinations and these will offer protection against TB meningitis which is the most serious complication of TB in babies as well as against several other diseases.

BCG must not be used for any child over 12 months of age or any adult.

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.

If your child was born between 1st May and 31st August 2016 they will be eligible for a vaccine and will be offered an appointment within the next 6 months, 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. Your GP, health visitor, midwife or other clinician can refer your baby to a community BCG clinic.

If your child is born after the 1st September 2016

  1. You will be offered a BCG vaccine at birth or within 28 days at a BCG clinic at your maternity unit in London.
     
  2. After this, only babies who fall within the 2 priority groups named below will be offered the BCG vaccine in the community:
     
  3. All infants (aged 0 to 12 months) living in areas of the UK where the annual incidence of TB is 40 cases per 100,000 or higher. As of September 2016 (PHE TB report, 2016), Redbridge borough is reported to have an annual TB incidence rate of 44.9 per 100,000 (TB rates attached). If your baby falls into this category, you will receive an appointment from your Health Visiting Team for your baby to have the vaccine at a community clinic.
     
  4. All infants (aged 0 to 12 months) with a parent or grandparent who was born in a country where the annual incidence of TB is 40 cases per 100,000 or higher. If your baby falls in this category, your GP, health visitor, midwife or other clinician can refer your baby to a community BCG clinic.

Babies will only be offered one appointment. No second appointments will be offered.

We do not recommend private BCG vaccination since you have no assurance regarding the potency (strength) of these vaccines.

NHS England have set up an email contact point to enable parents, carers and other members of the public to raise questions or concerns on availability and on priority groups if they wish to do so.  The email contact details are provided below:

england.contactus@nhs.net