Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content
Menu

Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) Vaccine

Drug Class: Commonly Known As: Category:

Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) Vaccine - Side Effects, Precautions, and Contraindications

What side effects can Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) Vaccine cause?

Common side effects include: 

● Some people may feel faint after the vaccination
   o Sit for 15 minutes to avoid fainting

● Pain, redness and swelling at the injection site
   o You may place a cold compress over the affected area for relief
   o You may take paracetamol for pain relief
   o Small, red lesions usually appear then slowly decrease in size and eventually disappear after six months
   o Some people may have a slight superficial scar

● Headache and fever
   o You may take paracetamol to treat the headache or fever
   o For newborns, see doctor for medical advice if fever persists

 Please see a doctor if these side effects do not get better or become worse.

Rare but serious side effects include:

Rarely, infection or swelling of lymph nodes with/without pus formation at the armpit (same side injection was given) may occur.

The symptoms of a drug allergy include one or more of the following:
● Swollen face/eyes/lips/tongue
● Difficulty in breathing
● Itchy skin rashes over your whole body

If you experience any of these symptoms, you should inform your healthcare professional immediately.

Before taking Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) Vaccine, what precautions must I follow?

​Inform your healthcare professional if:
● You are allergic to this vaccine or any of the other ingredients of this vaccine
● You are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding
● You are taking any other medications
● You have a weak immune system due to an illness such as Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infection or cancer
● You are currently on treatment which weakens your immune system such as medications (e.g. steroids) or radiation therapy to the bone marrow
● You are currently not feeling well and having a fever
● You have a skin infection that affects the whole body
● You have recently received any other vaccines

What food or medicine must I avoid when I take Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) Vaccine?

Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) Vaccine - Handling

How should I handle Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) Vaccine safely?

Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) Vaccine - Storage

How should I store Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) Vaccine?

How should I dispose of Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) Vaccine safely?

Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) Vaccine - Additional Information

  • Updated on Monday, May 31, 2021
  • Article contributed by PSS National Medication Information Workgroup PSS National Medication Information Workgroup

    Find Your Medicines