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HealthInfo Waitaha Canterbury

BCG (TB) vaccination

Rongoā āraimate

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The BCG vaccination is used to help prevent people getting tuberculosis (TB).

TB is not common in New Zealand, so BCG vaccinations are not routinely given. The Ministry of Health recommends that tamariki (children) under 5 who have a higher risk of catching TB should get the BCG vaccine. The BCG vaccine is free for those tamariki.

Tamariki have a higher risk of catching TB if they:

Countries with high rates of TB include:

The best time for the vaccination is within a few days of birth. Your tamaiti (child) can be vaccinated any time if they are under 5. But if they are older than 6 months, they need to be tested before being vaccinated. The test is called the Mantoux test. It tests if your tamaiti has been exposed to TB and therefore should not have a BCG vaccination.

Your midwife or general practice team will tell you if your tamaiti needs to be vaccinated. Talk to one of them if you think your tamaiti has a higher risk of catching TB.

If your tamaiti needs a vaccination, your general practice team will refer you a BCG provider. If they need a Mantoux test, the BCG provider will arrange an appointment and lab form.

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Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed June 2021.


See also:

Helping with fear of vaccination

Page reference: 231290

Review key: HIIMM-47872