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Vaccination & Immunization Message Board


Vaccination & Immunization Board Index


BCG scar
Apr 6, 2007
Hey. Ive got a huge odd shaped scar where ive head my TB jab. Its been there for about 3yrs and ive not tried to get rid of it.. but now i want it gone its really stressing me out !!. Please help, even though these forums are a bit empty :)
Re: BCG scar
Apr 6, 2007
A BCG vaccination scar, the result of being vaccinated for TB with the live virus BCG vaccine, is a permanent scar such as and simular to the scar resulting from being vaccinated for smallpox. Other than plastic surgery, its there for life, although it 'may' fade a bit over several years.
Re: BCG scar
Apr 11, 2007
well thats pretty anoying. basically i cant take my shirt of in public no more ?
Re: BCG scar
Apr 12, 2007
You're certainly not alone. Anyone born in a TB prevalent country is vaccinated with the BCG vaccine at birth and/or in school and have the scar. Most everyone born prior to 1971 in the US or any other country was vaccinated for smallpox and has a smallpox vaccination scar.
Re: BCG scar
Apr 17, 2007
I think I was the only person growing up with out one of those scars. I know tons of people that had them and they all said it was from the smallpox shot. I guess my doctor missed me or he did not require it. I was born in 68.

You can take your shirt off it's quit common to have that scar. Most people won't think twice about it.
Re: BCG scar
Apr 18, 2007
Its a really large scar though ?? None of my friends have a scar this big and most of them think its sickly looking.
Re: BCG scar
Apr 18, 2007
Jenteal, they usually vaccinated kids anytime between the age of 1 year on up until school entry, since it was required to have the smallpox vaccination. The school nurse checked all of us in the first grade that hadnt already been vaccinated and sent a note home for us to be vaccinated. If you were born in 68 and weren't vaccinated in the first two or three years, they had begun to stop vaccinating for smallpox by 1971-72 so you missed out. No scar for you! We never vaccinated for TB in the U.S. so none of us over here have a BCG scar. They still vaccinate for BCG in European countries that have a high incidence of TB.
Re: BCG scar
May 30, 2007
I was born in Ireland and I moved the US when I was 8. When I moved to the US, I was the only person in my class with the scar. I used to be mortified and wear long sleeves. I never noticed it or would forget about it, but there would always be someone asking what they were and that would remind me that I have them. In highschool, one complete a**hole asked "WHAT ARE THOSE HOLES ON YOUR ARM?" in front of the entire class. I'm 26 now and they still bring attention. On the bright side, you probably only have one. I have three separate scars forming a triangle on my arm!!
Re: BCG scar
May 31, 2007
Juliet, if you are only 26, then alll three scars are probably BCG vaccinations. Smallpox was eradicated in 1977 and the US and most countries ceased vaccinations for smallpox in the early 70's - unless you were in the military. In other countries where they vaccinate for TB, it's usually given to babies and often again in school. Each time you get the BCG vaccination, it leaves a scar, whereas when people were vaccinated for smallpox, the original vaccination left a round dime sized scar (if the vaccination 'took')and it was usually given in your non-dominant arm.....so most people have the vaccination scar on their left arm. Sometimes the vaccination didnt take, even after repeated trys, so there are a few that were vacccinated but did not react to the vaccine and do not have the scar. The BCG vaccine is usually given in the deltoid (upper) part of your arm, the same place that the smallpox vaccination is given. I know a lady from China who has three scars on her left arm from BCG vaccinations. Both vaccines are live virus vaccines and are also administered differently than other vaccines. Both react with the skin and cause a blister within days of administration. When the scab falls off, the tell-tale scar is left, indicating the vaccination was successful.





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