A spike in demand for BCG vaccines after research suggested it could protect people from Covid-19 is putting supplies under strain, South African TB experts and paediatricians have warned.
They said those demanding the vaccine included health workers “requesting revaccination as protection for themselves and vaccination of their non-BCG-vaccinated dependents, especially older children”.
In a letter published in the International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, infectious disease experts, mostly from Stellenbosch University, said responsible stewardship of BCG in the context of Covid-19 was “urgently needed”.
Though manufacturer and supply chain issues were largely resolved, they said, “supply remains fragile due to the limited number of production facilities available globally”.
A shortage could leave newborns, who receive the vaccine to protect them from TB, vulnerable.