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Merck Manual

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Rotavirus Vaccine

By

Margot L. Savoy

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

Last full review/revision Oct 2020| Content last modified Oct 2020
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The rotavirus vaccine is recommended for infants to protect against gastroenteritis caused by rotavirus disease.

Preparations

Rotavirus vaccines are live-virus vaccines. RotaTeq® (RV5) and Rotarix® (RV1) are currently licensed for use in infants in the US.

Indications

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

Contraindications and Precautions

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:

  • HIV/AIDS or any other disease that affects the immune system

  • Treatment with corticosteroids or other immunosuppressants

  • Cancer or cancer treatment with radiation or drugs

Dose and Administration

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

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

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

  • If any dose in the series is either RotaTeq® 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

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 1st or 2nd dose. Surgery may be required.

More Information

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

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NOTE: This is the Professional Version. CONSUMERS: Click here for the Consumer Version
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