Scroll Top

Rotavirus vaccine

Rotavirus vaccine

All you need to know about
Rotavirus Vaccine

As part of their standard childhood vaccines, newborns are given an oral vaccine against rotavirus infection.

The vaccination is administered in two doses, four weeks apart. The first dose is usually given at 8 weeks, followed by the second dose at 12 weeks.

The vaccine is given to the newborn as a liquid that he or she must drink.

Learn more about immunisations and when they should be given.

Why the rotavirus vaccine is offered

Rotavirus is a highly contagious stomach disease that primarily affects newborns and young children, producing diarrhoea, vomiting, tummy soreness, and a fever.

Within a week, the majority of youngsters are back at home. However, certain youngsters may require medical attention.

Complications such as severe dehydration may necessitate hospitalisation on occasion.

When babies can have the rotavirus vaccination

For babies aged 8 weeks and 12 weeks, the rotavirus vaccine is routinely available on the NHS as part of the childhood vaccination programme.

To be fully protected, your kid will require two rotavirus vaccinations spaced at least four weeks apart.

They can get it up to 15 weeks later if they skip the first dosage. They can take the second dose up to 24 weeks later if they skip the first.

How the rotavirus vaccine works

A weakened strain of rotavirus is included in the vaccination.

This helps your baby develop immunity so that they won’t catch rotavirus the next time they come into touch with it.

Effectiveness of the rotavirus vaccine

The rotavirus vaccine is quite successful at protecting children from rotavirus infection.

It is possible for a baby to become infected with the rotavirus after being vaccinated. However, this is rare, and the symptoms are usually lesser than they would have been if they hadn’t been vaccinated.

The rotavirus vaccine has dramatically reduced the number of children who experience diarrhoea and vomiting, as well as the number of severe rotavirus infections, since its inclusion in the vaccination programme.

Although the exact duration of protection is unknown, studies have shown that two doses of the vaccine can protect a child for several years.

Safety of the rotavirus vaccine

The rotavirus vaccine has a lot of evidence that it’s safe.

Rotarix is the brand name of the vaccination used in the United Kingdom. For more than a decade, this vaccination has been utilised in a variety of countries.

It is frequently administered to children in the United Kingdom and many other nations in Europe, Asia, and Latin America.

Common side effects of the rotavirus vaccine

The rotavirus vaccine, like all vaccines, can cause adverse effects, but they are usually minor and short-lived.

Common side effects of the rotavirus vaccine

Babies who have received the immunisation may become agitated and irritable, and some may get minor diarrhoea.

Rare side effects of the rotavirus vaccine

Allergic reaction

The rotavirus vaccine, like all vaccines, has an extremely small chance of producing a severe allergic reaction called anaphylaxis (about 1 in 1 million).

Anaphylaxis following vaccination is extremely unusual and should be treated as a medical emergency. If it does occur, it usually occurs quickly (within minutes). Vaccination providers are trained to cope with anaphylactic responses. Children who receive treatment recover completely.

Blocked intestine

The rotavirus vaccine can harm a baby’s intestine (bowel) extremely rarely (between 1 and 6 in every 100,000 babies inoculated), and they may develop a rare gut ailment called intussusception. The gut becomes blocked as a result of this.

The following are signs and symptoms of intussusception:

  • Stomach ache
  • Being unwell
  • In the baby’s nappy, there’s excrement that looks like redcurrant jelly.

If this happens, see your doctor right away.

What to do if your baby is unwell after the rotavirus vaccine

As with any vaccine, some babies may experience side effects such as diarrhoea, although these are usually minor and do not persist long. The majority of newborns will have no issues.

Also, keep in mind that diarrhoea and vomiting are frequent in babies and may not be related to immunisation.

After getting vaccinated, a newborn can have rotavirus infection, although this is uncommon, and the disease is usually milder than it would be if they hadn’t been vaccinated.

If your infant gets very sick or the illness lasts a long time, or if you have any concerns about their health following the immunisation, see a doctor.

How to report a vaccine side effect

You can report possible vaccination side effects through the Yellow Card Scheme.

It is overseen by the  Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), which is in charge of ensuring the safety of medicines (MHRA).

What happens if my baby misses their vaccination appointment?

Make a fresh appointment with your GP as soon as possible if your baby misses the vaccine appointment or if the immunisation is postponed.

Babies who did not receive their first MenB immunisation at the age of eight weeks might begin later.

Those who have received some of their MenB immunizations but have not completed the entire programme can catch up on any vaccinations they may have missed.

Only kids born on or after May 1, 2015, will be eligible for the MenB immunisation.

Which babies should not have the MenB vaccine?

The MenB vaccination is only given to a small percentage of newborns.

The MenB vaccine should not be given to a newborn who has the following conditions:

  • Has had an allergic or anaphylactic reaction to a previous dose of the MenB vaccine or any of its ingredients – learn more about the MenB vaccine’s ingredients.
  • Is sick and has a high fever – in this case, postpone vaccination till they’ve recovered.

Babies with a slight illness that does not result in a high temperature, such as a cold, can receive immunisation as usual.

Rotavirus vaccine FAQs

How is rotavirus spread?

Rotavirus is spread by hand-to-mouth contact in faeces and can be picked up from surfaces like toys, hands, or soiled nappies. Sneezing and coughing can also spread it through the air.

It is most commonly disseminated when an infected person does not properly wash their hands after using the restroom.

The transmission of rotavirus can be slowed by washing hands and keeping surfaces clean, but it can never be totally eradicated. Vaccination is a far more efficient method of protecting infants against infection.

How is the rotavirus vaccine given?

The rotavirus vaccine is administered orally, as a liquid directly into the mouth of the baby.

What if my baby spits out the vaccine or vomits immediately after having it?

The oral vaccine will be administered once more. Don’t be concerned about overdosing. Even if some of the vaccination was swallowed the first time, having two doses at the same time isn’t harmful.

When will babies be given the rotavirus oral vaccine?

The first dose will be administered at the age of eight weeks, and the second dose will be given at the age of twelve weeks.

What if my baby misses the rotavirus oral vaccine’s first dose?

It is possible to give it to them later, up to the age of 15 weeks. If they miss the second rotavirus oral vaccine dose (typically given at 12 weeks), they can get it up to 24 weeks later.

Why isn’t the rotavirus vaccine available to older babies?

The oral vaccine is only approved for infants under the age of 24 weeks. Vaccinating older children is pointless because they have almost always already had a rotavirus illness.

Also, some babies develop a disorder called intussusception, which causes a blockage in their intestines as they grow older, though this is uncommon. It’s extremely unusual before the age of 12 weeks, and the majority of instances occur between the ages of 5 and 12.

The initial dose of the vaccination has a very modest possibility of causing this blockage to form (between 1 and 6 in every 100,000 newborns inoculated).

The first dose of the vaccination should not be administered to babies older than 15 weeks of age to limit the possibility of this occurring.

Which babies should be vaccinated against rotavirus?

For babies from 8 weeks to 12 weeks, the rotavirus oral vaccine is a regular childhood vaccination.

To be fully protected, your kid will require two rotavirus vaccinations spaced at least four weeks apart. If one of the immunizations is missed, the first dose can be administered a month later, at 12 weeks, and the second dose at 16 weeks.

The rotavirus vaccine is only recommended for infants under the age of one year. The first dose must be administered within 15 weeks, and the second dose must be given within 24 weeks. Only babies who received their first dose before the age of 15 weeks are eligible for the second dose.

Which babies should not be vaccinated against rotavirus?

The rotavirus vaccine should not be given to children under the age of one year:

  • Those who are beyond 15 weeks old and have not received their first dose
  • Those who have received the first dosage but are older than 24 weeks – are not eligible for a second dose after 24 weeks.
  • Whose mum used certain medications during pregnancy that can increase your risk of infection
  • Who have had a severe reaction (including anaphylactic reaction) to any of the vaccine’s ingredients in a previous dose

If your baby suffers any of the following long-term issues, see a doctor first:

  • An intussusception history (a disorder of the intestines).
  • Intussusception is a condition in which a person’s gastrointestinal tract has issues.
  • Fructose intolerance, glucose-galactose malabsorption, and sucrase-isomaltase deficiency are all unusual disorders that run in families.

Is rotavirus vaccine manufactured from eggs? Is this something that allergy-prone kids should be concerned about?

Because this vaccination is not manufactured with eggs, it should be safe for babies with allergies in general. Any baby who has had an allergic reaction to the vaccine or any of the ingredients in the vaccine should not be inoculated.

Does the rotavirus oral vaccine contain thiomersal?

No, thiomersal is not present in any of the normal children’s immunisations.

What if my child is sick on the day of the vaccination?

Unless your kid is critically ill with a fever, diarrhoea, or vomiting, there’s no reason to postpone the appointment. The rotavirus vaccine can be given if your kid is well enough to get the other standard immunisations.

How long will my infant be protected from rotavirus after receiving the vaccine?

We don’t know for sure, although two doses of the vaccine have been found to provide protection for several years in clinical trials.

Can I opt out if I wish?

Yes. Although no one can compel you to have your infant vaccinated against rotavirus, the data suggests that it is in your child’s best interests.

The oral vaccine will be administered once more. Don’t be concerned about overdosing. Even if some of the vaccination was swallowed the first time, having two doses at the same time isn’t harmful.

Is it OK to breastfeed my baby after the vaccination?

Yes. Breastfeeding babies who have just received the rotavirus oral vaccine have had no issues.

Is it necessary to be extra cautious when changing my baby’s nappies after rotavirus vaccination?

Yes. Because your kid receives the vaccine by mouth, it’s conceivable that the virus in the vaccine will move through their digestive system and be taken up by whoever changes their diaper.

Because the rotavirus in the vaccination is attenuated, traces of it in a baby’s nappies will not harm healthy people.

People with a highly impaired immune system, on the other hand, maybe at risk (such as anyone having chemotherapy).

As a precaution, everyone who comes into close contact with recently vaccinated babies should practise good personal hygiene for the next two weeks after immunisation, including thoroughly washing their hands after changing the baby’s diaper.

Will the rotavirus vaccine protect my child from illness and diarrhoea?

No. Because the rotavirus is not the main cause of illness and diarrhoea in infants, some may still become ill. However, the vaccine will protect approximately 8 out of 10 neonates against rotavirus-related acute vomiting and diarrhoea.

The virus will have a harder time spreading if there are more newborns who have received the vaccine.

My child was born prematurely. When should they get vaccinated against rotavirus?

The schedule should be followed from the actual date of birth, not from the date your baby was due, as with all immunizations. As a result, your kid should have the rotavirus vaccine between the ages of 8 and 12 weeks, regardless of how premature they were.

Is it possible for my infant to get the rotavirus vaccine at the same time as other vaccines?

Yes, your child can receive the rotavirus oral vaccination alongside other childhood immunisations such as the 6-in-1 vaccine and pneumococcal vaccines.