Are COVID-19 infection rates and severity different between patients who have received BCG vaccinations compared to those who have not?

Bottom Line:

There was no statistically significant difference in the proportion of patients with COVID-19 positive test results in the BCG-vaccinated group compared to the unvaccinated group


Hamiel, U. et al. SARS-CoV-2 rates in BCG-vaccinated and unvaccinated young adults. JAMA (2020).  DOI:10.1001/jama.2020.8189

Date Published:

13 May 2020


A potential reason for varied infection rates of COVID-19 between countries could be differing vaccination protocols, as there are fewer confirmed cases in countries where BCG vaccination has been mandated. While the BCG vaccine was routinely administered to all newborns in Israel between 1955 and 1982, the vaccine has since been administered only to high-risk populations. This study examined whether the patients born during the three years before the cessation date, compared to three years after the cessation date, have differing COVID-19 infection rates. From a total of 3,064 patients selected, there was no statistical difference between the vaccinated and unvaccinated patients in the proportion of those who tested positive. Furthermore, one case of severe disease was found in each group, with no deaths. All in all, results do not provide support for the protective role of universal BCG vaccination against COVID-19 disease.

Summary by: Sheida Naderi-Azad