Your Child's Immunizations: Rotavirus Vaccine
What Is Rotavirus?
Rotavirus Immunization Schedule
The vaccine, which is a liquid given by mouth, is recommended at ages 2 and 4 months, and again at 6 months, depending on the brand of vaccine used.
Why Is the Rotavirus Vaccine Recommended?
Rotavirus can cause severe diarrhea, which can lead to dehydration and, for some kids, hospitalization. Besides protecting the individual child, vaccination against rotavirus can help stop spread in the community.
Possible Risks of Rotavirus Immunization
Side effects can include diarrhea and vomiting, and a fever.
When to Delay or Avoid Rotavirus Immunization
The vaccine is not recommended if your child:
- is currently sick, although simple colds or other minor illnesses should not prevent immunization
- had a severe allergic reaction to a previous dose of the vaccine. Tell your doctor if your child has an allergy to latex, as one of the rotavirus vaccine brands has a latex applicator.
- has severe combined immune deficiency (SCID), a genetic disorder
- had intussusception, a type of bowel blockage, in the past
Talk to your doctor about whether it's a good idea for your child to be vaccinated if he or she:
- has an abnormality of the digestive system or a gastrointestinal disease
- has immune system problems from a disease such as cancer; is taking steroids, or other drugs that weaken the immune system; or is undergoing chemotherapy or radiation therapy
Your doctor may determine that the benefits of vaccinating your child outweigh the potential risks.
Caring for Your Child After Rotavirus Immunization
If vomiting or diarrhea happen, give your child small amounts of fluid often and watch for signs of dehydration, such as less urine (pee) than usual.
When Should I Call the Doctor?
- Call if you aren't sure if the vaccine should be postponed or avoided.
- Call if there are problems after the immunization.
Rarely, some kids will develop intussusception within a week of getting the first dose of the vaccine. So after the first dose, watch for symptoms such as periods of intense abdominal pain with uncontrollable crying; vomiting; blood or mucus in the poop; and seeming weak, drowsy, or fussy.