Beneficial off-target effects of the Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccination might offer general protection from respiratory tract infections. We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of published randomized controlled trials (RCTs) to ascertain BCG vaccination effectiveness against COVID-19. We looked up English RCTs from 1 January 2019 to 15 November 2022 in Embase, the Cochrane Library, and the Web of Science in this systematic review and meta-analysis. Nine RCTs, including 7963 participants, were included. The infection rate of COVID-19 was not decreased in people who were vaccinated with BCG (OR, 0.96; 95% CI, 0.82-1.13; I2 = 4%), and the BCG vaccination group did not have decreased COVID-19 related-hospitalization (OR, 0.66; 95% CI, 0.37-1.18; I2 = 42%), admission to the ICU (OR, 0.25; 95% CI, 0.05-1.18; I2 = 0%), and mortality (OR, 0.64; 95% CI, 0.17-2.44; I2 = 0%) compared with the control group. There is not sufficient evidence to support the use of BCG vaccination in the prevention of COVID-19 infection and severe COVID-19 and avoid overstating the role of BCG vaccination leading to its misuse.

  • Adults
  • Older adults
  • Efficacy/effectiveness
  • Vaccine/vaccination
  • COVID-19