The BCG vaccine does not work well enough. In order to get tuberculosis under control we must develop a new and better vaccine.
Today’s tuberculosis vaccine, the BCG vaccine, was developed early in the 1900s, and it is the most widely used vaccine for children. The vaccine has an estimated coverage of 89 per cent worldwide. In comparison, polio has an estimated coverage of 84 per cent.
Unfortunately, the BCG vaccine does not provide full protection. While it has been proven that the vaccine effectively prevents serious forms of tuberculosis in children, it only provides limited protection for adults. When over ten million people develop tuberculosis every year, it is obvious that the BCG vaccine is far from effective enough.
In Norway, the BCG vaccine is only given to children who are particularly vulnerable to tuberculosis.
New vaccines must be developed
In order to stop the epidemic worldwide, it is essential that a new vaccine for tuberculosis be developed. In the effort to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goal on health and World Health Organisation's "End TB-strategy" the development of a new tuberculosis vaccine must be a priority task for the international community.
Norwegian vaccine support
The Norwegian Government has confidence in vaccines in the fight against world poverty. Every year Norway grants over a half billion Norwegian kroner to the GAVI (Global Alliance for Vaccine Initiative) – just over NOK 790 million in 2013. The GAVI performs an important job by distributing existing vaccines, but it does not have a goal of developing a new tuberculosis vaccine.
LHL International believes that Norway, with our tuberculosis history, should invest even more in financing the development of new tuberculosis vaccines in order to take the lead and set an example internationally. Norway must take responsibility and contribute more in order to get this global threat under control.
Read more about tuberculosis vaccines here (information in Norwegian).