BCG Immunization?

Illustration of BCG Immunization?
Illustration: BCG Immunization? frontiersin.org

Good afternoon doctor. nI want to ask why BCG immunization should be given to babies within 1-3 months? nThank you

1 Answer:

Hi Sartika,


Thank you for asking HealthReplies.com.

The BCG vaccine (Bacillus Calmette-Guerin) is made from weakened Mycobacterium bovine. This germ is considered very similar to the germ that causes tuberculosis (Mycobacterium tuberculosis) so that the administration of this vaccine can be intended to prevent tuberculosis (TB) infection.


Indonesia is one of the countries with the highest TB prevalence in the world (second only to India). In 2017 alone, according to WHO, it is estimated that there are 1,020,000 new TB cases in our country. This infection often attacks the lungs, and can be cured, although it requires a short treatment time (at least 6 to 9 months). However, in infants and children, especially those with impaired immunity, the risk of TB germs infecting vital organs, such as the brain or lining of the brain, is very high. This condition can certainly be dangerous, even to the point of causing death if it is not handled properly. Furthermore, TB infection in infants and children has the potential to hamper their growth and development, because the energy that could have been allocated for growth and development is actually depleted to fight this chronic disease.


TB infection is very easily transmitted, especially in our society, who mostly live in densely populated environments with less than optimal sanitation, ventilation and lighting. This transmission can occur easily through the inhalation of saliva splashes, for example when a patient spits, coughs, or sneezes carelessly. Infants and children are much more at risk of contracting TB because the direction of the saliva naturally follows gravity (from top to bottom). Therefore, babies and children who have contact with TB sufferers need to get anti-TB treatment, even though they don't show TB symptoms.


Based on the above considerations, BCG vaccine is mandatory for infants, especially those aged 1 to 3 months. The goal is, to establish immunity as early as possible against TB germs. So that if the baby is exposed to TB germs at a later date, the risk of a more severe infection can be minimized.


That's all for our explanation. For more details, please consult directly with a doctor or pediatrician.


I hope this helps.

dr. Nadia Nurotul Fuadah

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