Bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccination can help protect your child from developing tuberculosis (TB). After BCG vaccination it is normal for a sore to form where the needle entered the skin.

BCG vaccination sore and scar development

Normally the BCG vaccination sore takes 2-4 weeks to form and 2-4 months to heal. If the sore forms too quickly, it is important to call the clinic where the vaccine was given as this may indicate an adverse reaction to the BCG vaccine.

As it heals, inspect your child's sore daily and take photos weekly. Check with the pictures below to be sure it is healing normally.

If the sore forms fast, call the clinic where the BCG vaccine was given.

How to look after your child's BCG vaccination sore

  • keep the area clean and dry
  • carefully pat the area dry after baths or showers
  • keep the area uncovered where possible
  • do not cover with plastic dressings or sticking plasters such as 'Band-Aids'
  • do not use creams or ointments.

If the sore starts to ooze you can cover it with a piece of loose, sterile cloth (e.g. gauze) that is taped down at the edges but still allows air to get in. Your child can continue to do all their normal activities such as baths, showers, swimming and sports.

For more information on BCG vaccination and possible side effects, see Bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) Vaccination for Tuberculosis (TB) Information for patients and families.

Current as at: Monday 13 February 2023
Contact page owner: Communicable Diseases