The rotavirus vaccine prevents children from contracting Rotavirus, which results in severe diarrhea and flu-like symptoms, including vomiting, nausea, fever, and abdominal cramps for up to eight days. The vaccine is effective in reducing the risk of Rotavirus by 37 to 96 percent in the developed world.
How is the rotavirus vaccine administered?
The vaccine is given in three different doses throughout a 4- to 10-week interval for children under 8-months-old.
Why is the rotavirus vaccine given?
Before the vaccine was used, Rotavirus was responsible for 500,000 deaths of children under the age of 5 and 2 million hospital visits each year. The illness is highly contagious and can also affect adults.
Is the rotavirus vaccine necessary?
The rotavirus vaccine is considered necessary by medical professionals because it’s reduced hospitalizations by 96 percent. Children who are regularly exposed to other kids in daycare or school are at a higher risk of contracting the virus between the months of November and May, making it necessary to get the vaccine to protect their health. There is no quick treatment of the virus, and the bug must run its course for several days before it subsides, which is another reason to get the vaccine.
What are the side effects and risks?
Some children will not have side effects from the rotavirus vaccine at all. However, in children that do, common side effects include:
- A mild fever
- Runny nose
- Ear infection
- Sore throat
Millions of infants have received the vaccination, but there has been a small increase in cases where children developed intussusception, which involves an obstruction in the intestine. Intussusception is treatable in the hospital and may require surgery. Although there is a small risk of intussusception from the vaccination, the benefits are considered worth the risk by medical professionals.
It can also interfere with other medications the child is taking, which can weaken the immune system. It’s important to speak to a medical professional to determine if your child should get the vaccine if they’re already taking medications to treat psoriasis, they’re taking medication to prevent organ transplant rejection, or they are undergoing chemotherapy.
Children who have a severe reaction to the first dose of the vaccine should not be given additional doses.