The BCG or Bacilli Calmette-Guerin vaccine is used against tuberculosis disease. Different types of studies show that the incidence rate of COVID-19 is low in countries with routine BCG vaccination programs implemented. The research also shows that the persons who had been vaccinated with BCG in childhood show less chance of COVID-19.
The prominent evidence is less death rate of COVID-19 in those countries having a proper BCG vaccination program.
From 20th March to 5th April 2020, the reported cases of COVID-19 were 40 per million in those countries with proper BCG vaccination programs. But the countries having no BCG vaccination program, the incidence rate of COVID-19 was 360 per million. The death rate was also different in these countries. The countries having no BCG vaccination program were with a death rate of 40 per million. In the case of BCG vaccinated countries, this death rate was 4.30 per million.
In Pakistan, the BCG vaccine is administered routinely in newborn babies. This vaccine is administered with the intradermal route of administration.
In the case of America and Italy, there is no policy of BCG vaccination. The death rate and COVID-19 cases in these countries are higher as compared to Pakistan.
According to Worldometer.info/coronavirus, the following table gives a clear idea about the relationship between BCG vaccination and COVID-19 up to date of 8th April 2020.
Name of countries
|Reported cases||Total deaths||BCG policy|
|America||400, 549||12, 857||no|
|Italy||135, 586||17, 127||no|
|Netherland||19, 580||2, 101|
This data of reported cases and deaths of COVID-19 of developed countries and Pakistan can become a game-changer for Pakistan.
The researchers told that there are more than 150 countries that recommended BCG vaccination. Also, 23 countries have stopped BCG vaccination due to fewer incidences of TB such as Italy and America. They recommend the vaccination of only those people who are at risk.
According to NYIT (New York Institute of Technology), the BCG vaccine can become a potential weapon against this deadly virus. The researchers of NYIT also claimed that the countries without any universal policy of BCG such as the Netherland, the United States, and Italy have been seriously affected with COVID-19 compared to those countries with universal and long-standing policies of BCG.
Also, there are more than 60 % of people that are below the age of 30 in Pakistan. The 30 % population is between the ages of 15 and 30. They can be considered as the luckiest persons.
According to WHO-China Joint Mission, the death rate of coronavirus is 14.8 % in those individuals having the age of more than 80. In Pakistan, the 80-plus age persons are less than 0.6 % out of 1 million people. The death rate of this deadly virus in the 0 to 9 years old ones is 0 %. The 0 to 9 year age population of Pakistan is 28 % for a total of 61 million.
Finally, we can say that the BCG vaccine protects against COVID-19. Mainly BCG vaccine is used against tuberculosis and it also protects against many other types of respiratory problems. COVID-19 has a strong impact on the respiratory system. So the BCG vaccine has become a blessing for many countries, including Pakistan, with BCG vaccine policies in place. The countries such as Netherland, Italy, and the United States are seriously affected by COVID-19 as BCG vaccine is not considered necessary in these countries.
Author: Gohar, K. Bahauddin Zakariya University, Multan-Pakistan
That is intersesting topic…Good work