Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccination may reduce the risk of a range of infectious diseases, and if so, it could protect against coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Here, we compared countries that mandated BCG vaccination until at least 2000 with countries that did not.
To minimize any systematic effects of reporting biases, we analyzed the rate of the day-by-day increase in both confirmed cases (134 countries) and deaths (135 countries) in the first 30-day period of country-wise outbreaks. The 30-day window was adjusted to begin at the country-wise onset of the pandemic. Linear mixed models revealed a significant effect of mandated BCG policies on the growth rate of both cases and deaths after controlling for median age, gross domestic product per capita, population density, population size, net migration rate, and various cultural dimensions (e.g., individualism).
Our analysis suggests that mandated BCG vaccination can be effective in the fight against COVID-19.