The rotavirus vaccine is a live-virus vaccine that helps protect against gastroenteritis Rotavirus Infection Rotavirus is a common and very contagious virus that causes vomiting and diarrhea. Rotavirus is a viral infection of the digestive tract that can cause severe dehydration. Typical symptoms include... read more caused by rotavirus, which causes vomiting, diarrhea, and, if symptoms persist, dehydration and organ damage.
Two formulations of rotavirus virus are available. Both contain live but weakened (attenuated) rotavirus.
For more information, see the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Rotavirus vaccine information statement.
(See also Overview of Immunization Overview of Immunization Immunization (vaccination) helps the body defend itself against diseases caused by certain bacteria or viruses. Immunity (the ability of the body to defend itself against diseases caused by... read more .)
Administration of Rotavirus Vaccine
The rotavirus vaccine is part of the routine vaccination schedule recommended for children (see CDC: Child and Adolescent Immunization Schedule by Age). This vaccine is given by mouth. Two or three doses are given, depending on the formulation: at age 2 months and 4 months or at 2 months, 4 months, and 6 months.
People who have had serious allergic reactions to a previous dose of the vaccine or to a vaccine component should not be given the rotavirus vaccine.
Certain conditions may affect whether and when people are vaccinated (see also CDC: Who Should NOT Get Vaccinated With These Vaccines?). For example, rotavirus vaccine should not be given to infants who have certain immunodeficiency disorders Severe Combined Immunodeficiency (SCID) Severe combined immunodeficiency is a primary immunodeficiency disorder resulting in low levels of antibodies (immunoglobulins) and low or no T cells (lymphocytes). Most infants with severe... read more or who have had intussusception Intussusception Intussusception is a disorder in which one segment of the intestine slides into another, much like the parts of a telescope. The affected segments block the bowel and block blood flow. The cause... read more (when one segment of the intestine slides into another).
If people have a temporary illness, doctors usually wait to give the vaccine until the illness resolves.
Side Effects of Rotavirus Vaccine
Infants may have mild, temporary diarrhea or vomiting. They may become irritable.
When an older rotavirus vaccine was used, the risk of intussusception was increased. In intussusception, the intestine is blocked because one segment of the intestine slides into another, much like the parts of a telescope. The older vaccine was taken off the market in the United States. The newer vaccines, when given as recommended, may increase the risk of intussusception but only slightly.
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