The BCG Vaccination and its aftermath!

The BCG Vaccination and its aftermath can be a scary experience but you really don’t need to worry!

The BCG vaccination is the one that fights against tuberculosis, and it usually involves a live TB germ being injected into the layers of the skin on the baby’s shoulder. As scary as it sounds, don’t worry. The live sample has been cultured in a lab in such a way that it will not cause the disease in a healthy person, according to Health Guidelines given by the TB Control Program, Department of Health, Western Australia.

The BCG vaccination is usually given to babies in Qatar, before they are discharged from the hospital. As a parent, you do have the right to refuse or delay it. I would however highly recommend that you get do get it. Qatar has a continuously flowing community, with people from all over the world, and in some countries tuberculosis is more prevalent. So why take the risk?

Yes, I am pro-vaccination. And personally, I believe that every parent should vaccinate as it not only protects their child but also promotes immunity within the community.

Back to the BCG. Just after it is given, there is a bit of redness at the site. Which fades away in a few hours.

The real story starts after about 4weeks, the site starts to form a lump. Looks not too bad, just a small tiny bump. Which then goes completely nuts in about 2 or 3 more weeks. Absolutely furious, and bright red, filled with pus. It freaked me out when that happened.

The best thing to do is to let it be.

Don’t touch or prod, let life go on as usual. Make sure you don’t put a band-aid or tight clothes over it.

And then it becomes something out of a horror movie, when the puss starts to leak. Do not use soap or other products on the site. Use a soft cotton ball soaked in boiled-and-cooled water, and gently clean the area. Dab the area very gently to release the puss. Don’t force it out, but try and clean it if it is leaking. And don’t worry – there is a lot of puss. I felt like there was a bucket full, of greenish mucuosy goo – oh! What fun.


I have noticed – with my son – that he was quite agitated just before it broke. I am not sure if he was just being fussy or it was connected to this, and he was also slightly warm. No fever, just warmer than usual. And once the puss was out and cleaned up, he seemed to be feeling much better.

After reading up on it, I decided not to apply anything at all on the site, and tried to put him in a sleeveless outfit to let it air out. That is the best way to go. After bath, make sure it is completely dry, and avoid soaps, oils or lotions till it has healed.

However, I know that some mothers do use over the counter creams such as Fucidin. But please do not so this without getting your child checked by the pediatrician.

The site calms down, and then the boil comes up again in about another 2 weeks, and bursts. I felt that the second time around, it had more pus. I did the same thing: cleaned and aired out. And the third time, it was just a tiny drop of pus, and hopefully now we are done.

Please note that if the baby has fever, he needs to see a doctor. Same, if he the blister is harsh within the first week.

Some people also say that the formation of the lump/pimple is in an indicator that it is working, and if that does not happen, the vaccination needs to be done again. However, I could not find any evidence to support this claim, and a doctor I know has said it is fine even if there is no blister. But best to check that with your ped, just to be 100% sure.

Now at 4 months, we are hoping we have seen the last of the blister.

Remember, it is scary, but you’ll get through it momma! All the best for The BCG Vaccination and its aftermath!


  • Children aged 1 to 15 years who have not already been vaccinated and have a parent or grandparent who was born in a country where there is a high rate of TB infection.

  • rima

    my son took the vaccine right after birth , I should expect the lump in about 4 weeks ?

  • Hi Dilraz, I’m glad I found this post because my son had his BCG a few weeks ago and just when I thought it will not leave it formed a blister. It is so reassuring to know that I’m not the only one freaking out.
    kind regards

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Dilraz Kunnummal is the author of the much-loved children’s book, ‘See You Soon’. The role she’s proudest of is being mama to her cheeky little boy, and her journey as a parent is where she draw inspiration from for most of her writing.

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