How Long Is a TB Shot Good?

A tuberculosis, or TB shot remains effective between 5 and 10 years after administration. Typically, people receive the TB vaccine in the United States only if they are at a higher risk for developing the disease, note experts at the Centers for Disease Control. Children and infants in countries with a higher prevalence of tuberculosis often receive the vaccine, but only a small number of people in the United States receive the TB vaccine.

Although referred to by many as the TB vaccine, the formal name for the tuberculosis vaccine is Bacille Calmette-Guerin. Health professionals in the United States administer the BCG vaccine only to children at a risk of contracting the TB virus, according to experts at the CDC. This includes living with adults who have antibiotic-resistant strains of TB, or those who do not respond to standard TB treatments. Prior to receiving TB vaccines, children must have a negative TB skin test.

In addition to children, some health care workers benefit from having the TB vaccine. Candidates include people working with patients who have antibiotic-resistant TB and those working in places where infections begin spreading from patients to workers.

Although the TB vaccine provides some protection against the TB virus, it does not guarantee prevention. People who may have been exposed to TB, either through contact with an infected person or traveling to places with a high prevalence of the disease, should have a skin test to determine whether or not they have contracted the disease.