Global Vaccine Safety

Safety of BCG vaccination in immunocompromised individuals

Extract from report of GACVS meeting of 11-12 June 2003, published in the WHO Weekly Epidemiological Record on 8 August 2003

GACVS noted that there has been repeated reference to local or disseminated BCG infection several years after BCG immunization in HIV-positive persons. There needs to be closer monitoring of these adverse events in areas of high HIV prevalence, with specific efforts to distinguish BCG infection from tuberculosis. Currently, no change invaccination policy is recommended, although the risk–benefit relationship should be continually assessed, and surveillance of HIV-positive persons who receive BCG vaccines should be continued for at least 5–7 years. In the development of new live attenuated vaccines against tuberculosis, account needs to be taken of the special safety issues for immunocompromised recipients.