Rotavirus is a virus that is transmitted through stool. It is easily spread by contaminated hands and objects.
The rotavirus vaccine is given by mouth. It is made of a live, weakened form of the virus. The vaccine works by causing the body to produce its own protection against the virus.
There are two brands of the vaccine:
The vaccine is given to babies in 2 to 3 doses. The number of doses depends on which vaccine is used. The recommended schedule for giving these doses is:
This vaccine is not given to older children or adults.
Most infants get the vaccine without any problems. Some children may have common side effects, such as mild diarrhea or vomiting.
As with any vaccine, there is a small risk of a severe allergic reaction or death.
There is also a very small risk of a serious bowel obstruction called intussusception.
Children should not get the vaccine if they:
Children who are moderately or severely ill should wait to get the vaccine.
The risk of rotavirus can be lowered by practicing proper hand hygiene.
Frequent hand washing and washing of surfaces is recommended to keep the virus from spreading. Dirty linens and clothes should be handled as little as possible. These items should be laundered with detergent and machine-dried.
WHERE CAN I GET MORE INFORMATION?
National Network for Immunization Information
Vaccines & Immunizations
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Rotavirus. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/rotavirus. Accessed September 7, 2021.
Rotavirus gastroenteritis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/rotavirus-gastroenteritis. Accessed September 7, 2021.
Rotavirus vaccination. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd-vac/rotavirus/default.htm. Accessed September 7, 2021.
Rotavirus vaccine live. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/drug-monograph/rotavirus-vaccine-live. Accessed September 7, 2021.
Rotavirus VIS. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/hcp/vis/vis-statements/rotavirus.html. Accessed September 7, 2021.
Last reviewed July 2021 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Kari Kuenn, MD