Big Changes Ahead for BCG Immunisation Schedule

Dawn O'Shea

August 02, 2021

The BCG vaccination schedule is set to change from September 1. The new schedule will require that the vaccination is only administered after the baby has been screened for Severe Combined Immunodeficiency (SCID).

While the vaccine has, until now, been offered soon after birth, the forthcoming evaluation of the addition of SCID screening to the routine newborn screening test at five days of age makes it necessary to move the BCG vaccination to when a SCID screening outcome will be available, which will be by 28 days of age. This is to ensure that babies with SCID do not receive the live attenuated BCG vaccine, which is contraindicated in these babies

From September 1, providers will be required to check the record for a negative SCID result or confirmation that the child was not offered SCID screening, before administering the vaccine. BCG immunisation appointment letters should include instructions for parents to bring the Red Book and the letter with the outcome of newborn bloodspot screening.

Vaccination may be administered earlier than 28 days provided that a negative SCID result is available.

The parents of any baby that has received a result suggesting SCID may be present will be contacted by a specialist immunology team and an appointment arranged within 24 working hours of this contact. This team will recommend further diagnostic tests to confirm whether the baby has a problem with their immune system or not.

Following negative diagnostic tests, the parents will receive a letter confirming the outcome of the Investigations. This will be copied to the patient’s GP and health visitor.

The SCID screening evaluation is taking place in six areas across England - Manchester, Birmingham, Sheffield, Newcastle, London Great Ormond Street Hospital and London Southeast Thames. It will include close to 60% of newborn babies.

In the designated six areas, SCID screening will form part of the routine newborn screening test at 5 days, with most results expected within 10 to 12 days.

This article originally appeared on Univadis, part of the Medscape Professional Network.

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