Vaccine for Tuberculosis

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The page below is a sample from the LabCE course Tuberculosis Awareness for Health Care Workers. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

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Vaccine for Tuberculosis

The vaccine for TB is Bacille Calmette-Guerin (BCG). In countries with high TB prevalence, BCG is administered routinely to infants.
BCG is not generally recommended for use in the United States because of the low risk of infection with M. tuberculosis, the variable effectiveness of the vaccine against adult pulmonary TB, and the vaccine's potential interference with tuberculin skin test reactivity. The BCG vaccine should be considered only for very select persons who meet specific criteria and in consultation with a TB expert.
BCG vaccination of health care workers should be considered on an individual basis in settings in which:
  • A high percentage of TB patients are infected with TB strains resistant to both isoniazid and rifampin;
  • There is ongoing transmission of drug-resistant TB strains to health care workers, and subsequent infection is likely; or
  • Comprehensive TB infection-control precautions have been implemented but have not been successful.
Health care workers considered for BCG vaccination should be counseled regarding the risks and benefits associated with both BCG vaccination and treatment of latent TB infection.