Rotavirus vaccine: What to know, Significance, Age limits for vaccination
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Why is it important to vaccinate against rotavirus, which is leading cause to diarrhoeal? Isn't the disease benign?
Before rotavirus vaccines were available, rotavirus was the most common cause of severe gastroenteritis in infants and young children in the United States and worldwide. Almost all children were infected by age 5 years. Before vaccine was introduced in the United States, rotavirus was responsible each year for about 3 million episodes of gastroenteritis, 410,000 physician visits, 205,000–272,000 emergency department visits, 55,000–70,000 hospitalizations, and between 20 and 60 deaths among children younger than age 5 years.
How is rotavirus spread?
According to immunize, Rotavirus is contagious and the infection is usually spread from person to person, through the fecal-oral route. Fecal-oral transmission occurs when bacteria or viruses found in the stool of one person are swallowed by another person. This can occur when small amounts of fecal matter may be found on surfaces such as toys, books, clothing, etc. and on the hands of parents or child-care providers; but are usually invisible. Rotavirus may also be transmitted through intake of fecally-contaminated water or food or by respiratory droplets that people sneeze, cough, drip, or exhale. Rates of the illness among children in developed and less developed countries are similar.
Is it possible for adults to contract rotavirus? What are the symptoms in adults?
Yes. Rotavirus infection of adults is usually asymptomatic but may cause diarrheal illness. Outbreaks of diarrheal illness caused by rotavirus have been reported, especially among elderly persons living in retirement communities.
How Well Does Rotavirus Vaccine Work?
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Both rotavirus vaccines (Rotarix® and RotaTeq®) were tested in large clinical trials that involved thousands of infants, and were found to be safe and effective. About 9 out of 10 children who get the vaccine will be protected from severe rotavirus illness (fever, vomiting, diarrhea, and changes in behavior). While about 7 to 8 out of 10 children will be completely protected from rotavirus illness.
Before a vaccine was available many children who became ill with rotavirus were hospitalized. Currently, very few vaccinated children are hospitalized because of rotavirus illness (94% to 96% are protected from hospitalization).
What Are the Possible Side Effects of Rotavirus Vaccine?
Most babies who get rotavirus vaccine do not have any side effects. However, some babies can have side effects that are usually mild and go away on their own. Serious side effects are possible but rare.
Side effects or problems that have been associated with rotavirus vaccine include:
Being irritable, or having mild, temporary diarrhea or vomiting after getting a dose of rotavirus vaccine.
There is a small risk of intussusception, a type of bowel blockage that is treated in a hospital, and could require surgery. Intussusception happens in some babies every year in the United States, and usually there is no known reason for it. Intussusception from rotavirus vaccination usually occurs within a week of receiving a dose of vaccine. The risk of intussusception from rotavirus vaccination is estimated to range from about 1 in 20,000 to 1 in 100,000 US infants who get rotavirus vaccine. Your doctor can give you more information.
Problems that could happen after any vaccine
Any medication can cause a severe allergic reaction. Such reactions from a vaccine are very rare, estimated at less than 1 in a million doses, and usually happen within a few minutes to a few hours after the vaccination. As with any medicine, there is a very remote chance of a vaccine causing a serious injury or death, as reports Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Who Should Get Rotavirus Vaccine? The Age-Limit for Rotavirus Vaccine
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Rotarix (human monovalent rotavirus vaccine)
The vaccination course of Rotarix is 2 doses, at 2 and 4 months of age:
Give the 1st dose between 6 and 14 weeks of age — that is, before turning 15 weeks old.
Give the 2nd dose by 24 weeks of age — that is, before turning 25 weeks old.
Ensure that the interval between the 2 doses is at least 4 weeks.
RotaTeq (pentavalent human–bovine reassortant rotavirus vaccine)
The vaccination course of RotaTeq is 3 doses, at 2, 4 and 6 months of age:
Give the 1st dose between 6 and 12 weeks of age — that is, before turning 13 weeks old.
Give the 2nd dose at least 4 weeks later.
Give the 3rd dose by 32 weeks of age — that is, before turning 33 weeks old.
Ensure that the interval between doses 2 and 3 is at least 4 weeks.
For infants receiving their 2nd dose after reaching 29 weeks of age and before turning 33 weeks of age, this 2nd dose will also be their final dose.
Receiving the 1st dose after the age cut-off
Infants should start the course of rotavirus vaccination within the recommended age limits for the 1st dose — that is:
before 15 weeks of age for Rotarix
before 13 weeks of age for RotaTeq
If an infant receives the 1st dose of rotavirus vaccine after this age, they can receive the remaining vaccine doses as per the schedule. Maintain the minimum interval between doses within the recommended age limits for later doses.
The timing of the 1st dose should not affect the safety and efficacy of the 2nd and 3rd doses, cites Australian immunisation handbook.
Completing the schedule after rotavirus infection
Infants who develop rotavirus gastroenteritis before receiving the full course of rotavirus vaccine should still complete the full 2- or 3-dose schedule. One rotavirus infection only provides partial immunity.1
Preterm infants are recommended to receive either rotavirus vaccine starting at the chronological age of at least 6 weeks, if the infant is clinically stable. Do not correct the age for prematurity.
Preterm infants (born at <37 weeks gestation) appear to have a higher risk of hospitalisation from viral gastroenteritis.
Vaccinating hospitalised infants, including hospitalised preterm infants, has a low risk of transmitting vaccine viruses if standard infection control precautions are maintained.4
See Contraindications and precautions for more details about hospitalised infants and other special risk groups.
Infants’ consumption of food and liquid
There are no restrictions on the infant’s consumption of food or liquid, including breast milk, before or after vaccination with either rotavirus vaccine.1,5
Infants living in households with pregnant women
Infants living in households with pregnant women can receive rotavirus vaccines. Most pregnant women will have immunity to rotavirus. However, vaccinating infant contacts may benefit adults, including pregnant women, by protecting them from transmission of wild-type infection. Vaccination outweighs any theoretical concern about exposure to vaccine viruses.
Who Should Not Get Rotavirus Vaccine?
Your healthcare provider is the best source of information on the benefits and risks of vaccines. Before your child receives any vaccine, discuss with your healthcare provider:
- health problems that your child may have
- medications that your child is currently taking
- concerns you might have about vaccination
|Infants should not get rotavirus vaccine if they have any of the following: |