Childhood TB vaccinations return to NZ

Tuberculosis vaccinations have not been available in New Zealand since 2016, but 35000 doses of the vaccine recently arrived in the country.

Called the Bacillus Calmette Guerin (BCG) vaccine, it protects children from developing severe forms of the disease, such as those that affect the brain, Health Central reports.

Vaccination clinics are being run by the Auckland Regional Public Health Service. The vaccine is only necessary for babies at high risk of contracting TB. Babies under 6 months old are first priority because they were most vulnerable.

Tuberculosis is an infection that is spread through the air. It most commonly infects your lungs. Two billion people (a third of the world's population) are thought to be infected with the TB bacteria. Most of these people will not know they have been infected, but about 1 in 10 may develop active TB at some time in their lives.

While the rates of tuberculosis are much lower in developed countries, such as New Zealand, it is still a major cause of lung disease. It can reappear as active disease many years after first contracting the TB bacteria, Mycobacterium tuberculosis. While TB usually infects the lungs, other organs and parts of the body can also be involved.

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Read more about tuberculosis   
Read the TB vaccine news item