Rotavirus Vaccine

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Some Questions and Answers on Rotavirus Vaccine:

Why is it important to vaccinate against rotavirus? Isn’t the disease benign?
Rotavirus is the most common cause of severe gastroenteritis in infants and young children. The disease may cause severe dehydrating diarrhea with vomiting and fever. Almost all children are infected by age 5 years. Annually, rotavirus in the U.S. is responsible for 3 million infections, more than 400,000 physician visits, 160,000 emergency department visits, 55,000–70,000 hospitalizations, and between 20 and 60 deaths.

What are the recommendations for use of RotaTeq?
RotaTeq, the new rotavirus (RV) vaccine by Merck, is recommended for routine oral administration for all infants as a 3-dose series. The usual schedule is at ages 2, 4, and 6 months. The first dose may be given as early as age 6 weeks. The vaccine should not be administered to infants older than 32 weeks, even if the 3-dose series has not been completed. The first dose should be administered between ages 6 and 12 weeks. A minimum interval of 4 weeks should be observed between each of the doses.

Which infants should not receive RotaTeq?
The Vaccine should not be given to infants who has a severe allergic reaction to an RV vaccine component or following a prior dose, has altered immunocompetence, has a pre-existing chronic gastrointestinal disease or history of intussusception, or has a moderate or severe acute illness at the time of the clinic visit.

Can preterm infants receive RV?
ACIP recommends the vaccination of a preterm infant if the infant is at least age 6 weeks, is being or has been discharged from the hospital, and is clinically stable.

What is the evidence that RotaTeq will not be followed by intussusception?

The clinical trial that led to licensure of RotaTeq included more than 70,000 infants, and found no evidence of an increased risk of iintussusception in vaccine recipients


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