WhatsApp messages claiming the BCG vaccine prevents coronavirus infection are making the rounds and many calimed that Indians are usually given the vaccine after birth and hence, they are immune to coronavirus. Google search has shown a spike in search for BCG in the last few days as shown in its trends below:
The Bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccine has been given to children to develop immunity to tuberculosis, and many Indians vividly remember how the vaccines were administered when they were in schools. Though some countries have discarded the vaccine due to no deaths from tuberculosis, India and UK are among the many countries which still provide the vaccine compulsorily to children. The BCG jab is usually given to arm that leaves behind a circular mark that remains visible forever.
The World Health Organization says that there is no evidence that the BCG protects people from the coronavirus infection. However, it clarified that two clinical trials are under way involving BCG, and when completed, their findings will be evaluated by the WHO.
Another expert doctor with background in Indian hospitals discarded the claim. Madhukar Pai, Director of McGill University’s International TB Centre, explained in an article for Forbes that ecological studies suggesting BCG could protect against COVID-19 have major limitations.
The WHO is concerned that the sudden increase in demand for the vaccine may affect the target of inoculating children against tuberculosis at the birth.
Conclusion: Since clinical trials are on, it cannot be established that the BCG vaccine is a panacea to coronavirus and WHO has also denied it for now. Our rating of the claim is ? Exaggeration.