These include, for example, children with a close relative who has had tuberculosis, children in families from countries where tuberculosis is common or children who will be spending a long time in such a country. As a parent, you can obtain information about vaccination against tuberculosis from the maternity ward or child healthcare clinic. Sometime the information will be provided by the antenatal clinic.
How the vaccination is administered
During the vaccination the child will have to sit on a parent’s knee. One nurse holds the child’s arm while another nurse injects a small amount of liquid under the skin of the child’s left upper arm. A small swelling appears where the liquid is injected. The area around the injection may also become reddened. There may be a slight stinging sensation, similar to a wasp sting, while the injection is being administered and for a few minutes after the injection.
What happens after the vaccination
The swelling following the vaccination will disappear after a short while. The area around the vaccination may remain reddened for the first few days. If there is a rapid swelling, redness and tenderness in the area where the injection was administered, contact the person who administered the injection or phone the healthcare advice service on tel. 1177.
The area will subsequently harden, and in due course become bigger, reddened and sometimes swollen. This hardened area is covered by thin, pale skin. The skin gradually becomes thinner, and about two weeks after the vaccination it is usual for the skin to break. This opens a wound, which releases one or two drops of pus.
The wound will weep to varying degrees, but will usually dry out after a couple of weeks. Sometimes the wound may weep for a longer period, up to a few months. When the wound has dried, a scab forms, which falls off after a few weeks.
You must not wash the wound and you must not use salves, powders or emergency plasters. If the wound weeps a lot and you want to protect clothes, it is important to use a dressing that is not too tight. Textile plasters may be used, for example the type that can be trimmed into pieces of the correct size. You must not use plastic plasters.
Occasionally there will be no wound at all, although the hardened skin will remain for a month or two before it recovers.
Other common changes
It is normal to experience a moderate enlargement of the lymph nodes in the armpit. Sometimes there may be a fever after the vaccination, although this is unusual.
Considerations after the vaccination
The child must not enter a bathtub, a swimming pool, a lake or the sea for as long as there is a wound or a scab. A shower is possible, and it does not matter if water runs over the wound.