Association Between Bacillus Calmette-Guérin Vaccination and Childhood Asthma in the Quebec Birth Cohort on Immunity and Health

Am J Epidemiol. 2017 Aug 1;186(3):344-355. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwx088.


We estimated the association between bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccination and childhood asthma in a birth cohort using administrative databases, and we determined the impact of adjusting for potential confounders collected from a subset of the cohort members. Data were collected in 2 waves: 1) Administrative data for 76,623 individuals (stage 1) was gathered from the Quebec Birth Cohort on Immunity and Health (1974-1994), including BCG vaccination status, perinatal and sociodemographic characteristics, and use of health services for asthma; and 2) self-reported asthma risk factors were collected in 2012 by telephone interviews with 1,643 participants (stage 2) using a balanced 2-stage sampling design. We estimated odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals for asthma using logistic regression and correcting for the known sampling fractions from stage 1 to stage 2, overall and sex-stratified. In total, 35,612 (46.5%) individuals were BCG vaccinated, and 5,870 (7.7%) had asthma. The final odds ratio, integrating results from both stages of sampling, was 0.95 (95% confidence interval: 0.87, 1.04). Results did not differ according to sex (P for interaction = 0.327). To our knowledge, this is the largest study ever conducted on this topic, and using the best possible comprehensive adjustment for confounders, we found no association between BCG vaccination and asthma.

Keywords: 2-stage sampling; administrative data; asthma; bacillus Calmette-Guérin; birth cohort.

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Asthma / chemically induced*
  • Asthma / epidemiology
  • BCG Vaccine / adverse effects*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Educational Status
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Parents
  • Quebec / epidemiology
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors


  • BCG Vaccine