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Children and BCG

Children who live in the Netherlands and whose parents come from a country where rates of tuberculosis are high will be vaccinated against this disease. Tuberculosis can make young children very ill.

What is the BCG vaccination?

The BCG (Bacillus Calmette-Guérin) vaccination is used against tuberculosis. The vaccine contains a weakened strain of live tuberculosis bacteria. They ensure that the body produces antibodies against these bacteria. The BCG can be given to very young children.

The BCG vaccination does not provide 100% protection against the development of tuberculosis, but it does provide protection against the most serious forms and complications of tuberculosis at a young age.

How is the vaccination given?

The BCG vaccination involves injecting a small amount of liquid into the skin of the upper left arm. After about four to eight weeks, a small spot may appear at the place where the vaccination was given. The spot will disappear in a few months, leaving a small scar on the upper left arm.

Why has my child been asked to get the BCG?

We receive information from the municipal personal records database if one or both parents were born in a country where rates of tuberculosis are high. It is advisable to have your child vaccinated if your child will be visiting this country in the future or is in regular contact with people who have visited this country.

Why is a skin test (tuberculin skin test) carried out first?

If your child has already been on holiday, a tuberculin skin test (Mantoux test) will first be carried out to check whether or not your child has been infected by the tuberculosis bacteria. If you returned to the Netherlands less than two months ago, please contact the TB department.

Will my child develop a fever after the vaccination?

It takes a few weeks for the BCG vaccination to work. A fever following the vaccination is therefore not caused by the vaccination, but has generally been caused by something else.

How can I change my appointment?

You can change your appointment by email or by phone. Here are our contact details.

Leaflets about the BCG vaccination

  • Leaflet about BCG vaccination and tuberculosis (website of KNCV Tuberculosis Foundation)
  • Leaflet about BCG vaccination after care