Does TB Vaccination Reduce COVID-19 Infection?: No Evidence from a Regression Discontinuity Analysis
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In the middle of the global COVID-19 pandemic, the BCG hypothesis, the prevalence and severity of the COVID-19 outbreak seems to be correlated with whether a country has a universal coverage of Bacillus-Calmette-Guerin (BCG), a vaccine for tuberculosis disease (TB), has emerged and attracted the attention of scientific community and media outlets. However, all existing claims are based on cross-country correlations that do not exclude the possibility of spurious correlation. We merged country-age-level case statistics with the start/termination years of BCG vaccination policy and conducted a regression discontinuity and difference-in-difference analysis. The results do not support the BCG hypothesis.