Merck Manual

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Rotavirus Vaccine

By

Margot L. Savoy

, MD, MPH, Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University

Reviewed/Revised Oct 2022
View Patient Education

For more information, see Rotavirus Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices Vaccine Recommendations and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): Rotavirus Vaccination. A summary of changes to the 2022 adult immunization schedule is available here.

Preparations of Rotavirus Vaccine

Rotavirus vaccines are live-virus vaccines. RV5 and RV1 are currently licensed for use in infants in the US.

Indications for Rotavirus Vaccine

The rotavirus vaccine is a routine childhood vaccination ( see Table: Recommended Immunization Schedule for Ages 0–6 Years Recommended Immunization Schedule for Ages 0–6 Years Recommended Immunization Schedule for Ages 0–6 Years ).

Contraindications and Precautions of Rotavirus Vaccine

Contraindications for rotavirus vaccines are

The main precautions with rotavirus vaccines are

  • Moderate or severe illness, including moderate or severe diarrhea or vomiting (vaccination is postponed until the illness resolves; infants with mild illness can be given the vaccine)

The safety and efficacy of rotavirus vaccines have not be established in infants with the following:

Dose and Administration of Rotavirus Vaccine

Rotavirus vaccines are given orally by putting drops in the infant's mouth. The dosing for the 2 vaccines is slightly different:

  • RV5 is given orally in 3 doses, one dose at age 2 months, 4 months, and 6 months.

  • RV1 is given orally in 2 doses, one dose at age 2 months and 4 months.

  • If any dose in the series is either RV5 or unknown, default to a 3-dose series.

If the first dose of rotavirus vaccine is inadvertently given at age ≥ 15 weeks, the remaining doses should be given at the routinely recommended intervals.

Rotavirus vaccine should not be given after age 8 months 0 days, even if the series is incomplete.

Adverse Effects of Rotavirus Vaccine

Adverse effects are rare. Infants may become irritable or have mild temporary diarrhea or vomiting.

There is a very small risk of bowel intussusception with the rotavirus vaccine. Intussusception usually occurs within a week after the first or second dose. Surgery may be required.

More Information

The following English-language resources may be useful. Please note that THE MANUAL is not responsible for the content of these resources.

Drugs Mentioned In This Article

Drug Name Select Trade
Rotarix, RotaTeq
View Patient Education
NOTE: This is the Professional Version. CONSUMERS: View Consumer Version
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