TB disease is not known to put people at higher risk of COVID-19 infection, but it may put you at risk of having more severe symptoms.
There are many ways people with TB can reduce their chance of getting COVID-19, which include physical distancing, good hand hygiene, safe social interactions and following all public health recommendations and restrictions.
Please keep your scheduled BCCDC TB clinic appointments. The TB clinics are very strict about infection prevention and control so please be reassured that they are taking great efforts to keep you and their staff safe. Also, our TB clinics offer virtual appointments by phone or computer whenever possible.
- If you have had or are recovering from TB and have persistent symptoms of lung disease, you may be at risk for developing more severe symptoms if you acquire a respiratory infection, including COVID-19. Keep taking your TB treatment as prescribed. There is no clear evidence that active TB disease puts you at increased risk of COVID-19 infection, but we do know that people have worse health and treatment outcomes if their TB treatment is stopped or interrupted.
- If you have fully recovered from TB and do not have any other medical conditions that could put you at risk for severe outcomes of COVID-19, then your risk may be the same as the general population of similar age.
- It is recommended that people who have had TB, especially those who required lung surgery or have post-TB lung disease closely follow public health recommendations. Other important steps to support good lung health and prevent poor outcomes include stopping tobacco, vaping, or e-cigarette use.
Currently, there is no evidence to suggest that latent TB infection (LTBI) alone puts you at higher risk of getting COVID-19. If you are generally in good health, it is unlikely that LTBI influences the symptoms associated with COVID-19.
The medications used to treat TB disease and TB infection are not used to treat COVID-19 patients. If you are on TB medication you should continue to take your medication as prescribed and continue with appointments, tests and medication refills as scheduled by your health care provider.
Nearly everyone will be able to safely receive the COVID-19 vaccine, although a very small number of people may need to avoid vaccination due to severe allergies
to parts of the vaccine.
- If you are taking treatment for TB disease or latent TB infection, it is safe to receive the COVID-19 vaccine when it is offered to you.
- If you are not tolerating your TB treatment, you should wait until your treatment is stable before receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. It is not a safety concern, but it is important to separate the side effects of your TB treatment from a potential side effect of the COVID-19 vaccine.
- At this time, TB Services is not providing the COVID-19 vaccine to patients.
- BC’s COVID-19 Immunization Plan will happen in four phases. The focus at first is to protect those most likely to experience severe illness. Find more information about getting a COVID-19 vaccine and other health considerations on our COVID-19 vaccine page.
There is no evidence that the Bacille Calmette-Guérin vaccine (BCG) (a vaccine that has been used to protect children from severe cases of TB) protects people from acquiring COVID-19. Currently, there are clinical trials
to study this question, but at this time the World Health Organization (WHO) does NOT recommend the use of BCG vaccination to prevent or cure COVID-19. Also, people with a history of BCG vaccination should not feel they are protected from acquiring COVID-19 disease. Visit the WHO website
for more information.
CLICK TO ENLARGE TB Chart
Coping with a TB diagnosis itself can be difficult and cause a lot of worries. On top of that, the changes and uncertainty in our lives due to COVID-19 have created anxiety, stress, depression and fear among people of all ages. It is understandable to have concerns about how a COVID-19 infection could impact your health. Knowing the facts from credible sources, connecting with people you trust, and finding time to do self-care and practice wellness at home may be helpful. Visit the BC website Managing COVID-19 Stress, Anxiety and Depression
for more information and access to mental health services. For further general information about coping with stress, visit the WHO’s Coping with Stress during the 2019n-CoV outbreak
Stigma has a very powerful impact on our health and well-being. In our society, both TB and now COVID-19 are associated with a social stigma that can cause significant harm such as discrimination, labelling, and stereotyping. As a result, people affected by stigma may hide their illness and avoid seeking care; may feel discouraged about engaging in healthy behaviours; may be denied access to services, including housing and healthcare; may receive verbal, emotional and physical abuse; and may feel lonely and ashamed. If you or someone close to you is experiencing stigma, reach out to a friend, community or health care provider you trust for support. If you are interested in understanding ways to help stop the stigma, visit the Mayo Clinic COVID-19 stigma: What it is and how to reduce it
and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) website on mental health, stigma and prejudice
during the COVID-19 pandemic.
If you have more questions about COVID-19, please visit the Common Questions
section of our website.