Rotavirus Vaccine

What is rotavirus?

Rotavirus is a virus that causes diarrhoea (loose motions). This virus mostly affects babies and young children. It is a highly infectious stomach bug causing severe diarrhoea which can even result in dehydration. Babies and children infected with rotavirus may have vomiting, stomach ache and fever along with diarrhoea.

It is observed that, out of the total world’s population, majority of child deaths and hospitalizations are due to diarrhoeal diseases, in children up to 5 years¹. In the developed and developing countries, Rotavirus is the major cause of diarrhoea in children. The In India, various studies have reported more than 2.3 billion of annual deaths among children in India. Out of these, more than 3,00,000 deaths are because of diarrhoeal diseases¹ ¯³.

What is the rotavirus vaccine?

Rotavirus vaccine is a medicine that prevents spread of rotavirus; and in turn protects babies and young children from getting the infection?. It is an oral vaccine against rotavirus infection.

The vaccine comes in a liquid form. It is given to the baby through dropper, straight into their mouth to swallow.

What is the schedule for vaccination6 ?

Only 2 doses for RV1 at 10 and 14 weeks and three doses for RV5 at 6,10 and 14 weeks

The 1st dose should be given to the baby before the baby is 15 weeks old.

How effective is the vaccine?

Before rotavirus vaccine, many children who were infected with rotavirus were hospitalized. Currently, the research reports have shown that, there are a very few children who need to get hospitalized because of rotavirus infection (94-95% of them are protected because of the vaccine)8,9.

Are there any side effects?

Generally, rotavirus vaccine is very safe and only a few babies may have some side effects, as follows:

  • The baby may become irritable
  • He or she may have mild diarrhoea after getting the vaccine

Very rarely do some babies may suffer from intussusception – type of bowel blockage that may need hospitalization, after getting the rotavirus vaccine10,11.

What if a dose is missed?

It is recommended that the babies should get the rotavirus vaccine before he or she is 8 months old. If the baby misses the 1st dose of the vaccine, he or she can have it a month later, at 3 months. If the 2nd dose is missed (usually given at 10 weeks), they can have it a month later, at 4 months¹².

 

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References:

  1. http://www.who.int/bulletin/volumes/90/10/BLT-12-101873-table-T1.html
  2. J Infect Dis (2009) 200 (Supplement_1): S9-S15.
  3. Global, regional, and national causes of child mortality in 2008: a systematic analysis.Lancet2010; 375: 1969-87
  4. Hum Vaccin Immunother.2016 Nov 11:1-7
  5. Indian J Public Health. 2012 Jan-Mar;56(1):17-21.
  6. CMAJ. 2013 Sep 3; 185(12): E563–E564.
  7. Hum Vaccin. 2010 Jul; 6(7): 532–542.
  8. Can Fam Physician. 2012 Mar; 58(3): 270–271.
  9. http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0041720
  10. Pediatr Infect Dis J.2010 Jan;29(1):1-5.
  11. Vaccine.2011 Apr 5;29(16):3061-6.
  12. http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/vaccinations/Pages/rotavirus-vaccine-questions-answers.aspx