Guidance for Preparation and Administration of BCG and tuberculin

Please note
BCG vaccine is given to protect babies against tuberculosis (TB).
As of today, October 10th 2016 , the HSE continues to experience ongoing delays with the supply of BCG vaccine. This continues to be a Europe wide issue.
There is only one licensed manufacturer of BCG vaccine in the EU. This vaccine manufacturer has informed us that BCG vaccine will not be delivered into Ireland until further notice.
The BCG vaccine stock in all areas expired at the end of April 2015 so BCG vaccination clinics in HSE Clinics and Maternity hospitals have been postponed until new stock arrives.The number of cases  of TB has been steadily falling in Ireland. The number of cases  of TB for the years 2014 and 2015 was at the lowest level since records began. Most European countries do not give BCG to all babies.
The National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC), an independent expert group on immunisation and the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) have both recommended that BCG vaccine does not now  need to be given routinely to all babies in Ireland.  
Babies are not at risk of TB because of the delay in getting the vaccine.
There is no need to delay your baby's injections at two months if your baby has not had their BCG vaccine.


This guidance on the preparation and administration of BCG and tuberculin has been drawn up following consultation with the Health Protection Surveillance Centre and international evidence and best practice.

This guidance should be reviewed following the publication of Irish regulations to comply with the 2013 EU Sharps Directive and when sterile plastic straws for drawing up vaccines are available as an alternative to needles.

  • Dr Brenda Corcoran National Immunisation Office
  • Dr Roswitha Junold, Senior Medical Officer, Dublin Mid Leinster
  • Dr Deirdre Forde, Senior Medical Officer, Dublin Mid Leinster
  • Dr Pasqueline Lyng, Senior Medical Officer, Department of Public Health, Dr Steevens Hospital
  • Dr Ros Quinlan, Senior Medical Officer, Dublin North East
  • Dr Barbara Senior, Area Medical Officer, Dublin Mid Leinster

Instructions for use of Tuberculin safety syringes (updated 27th January 2015)


Videos showing the administration of BCG vaccine (Dr Barbara Senior, Area Medical Officer, Dublin Mid Leinster)

Normal Speed Video

Slowed Down Video


Presentation - Administration of BCG Vaccine (Dr Barbara Senior, Area Medical Officer, Dublin Mid Leinster)

 This page was updated on 15/05/2015