Rotavirus vaccine is a vaccine used to protect against rotavirus infections, which are the leading cause of severe diarrhea among young children. The vaccines prevent 15–34% of severe diarrhea in the developing world and 37–96% of severe diarrhea in the developed world.

Rotavirus spreads easily among infants and young children. The virus can cause severe watery diarrhea, vomiting, fever, and abdominal pain. Children who get rotavirus disease can become dehydrated and may need to be hospitalized.

Why get vaccinated?

Rotavirus causes diarrhea, mostly in babies and young children. The diarrhea can be severe, and lead to dehydration. Vomiting and fever are also common in babies with rotavirus.

Rotavirus vaccine

Rotavirus vaccine is administered by putting drops in the child’s mouth. Babies should get 2 or 3 doses of rotavirus vaccine, depending on the brand of vaccine used.

  • The first dose must be administered before 15 weeks of age.
  • The last dose must be administered by 8 months of age. Almost all babies who get rotavirus     vaccine will be protected from severe rotavirus diarrhea.

Effectiveness of rotavirus vaccine

The rotavirus vaccine is very effective and gives good immunity to rotavirus infection. Since the introduction of the rotavirus vaccine, it has had a significant impact on the number of cases of rotavirus.

The vaccine is given routinely to children in the US and many other countries around the world in Europe, Asia, and Latin America.

Safety of rotavirus vaccine

There is a lot of evidence showing that the rotavirus vaccine is safe. Rotarix has been used in many countries, for more than 10 years.

Side effects of rotavirus vaccine

  • Crying
  • Mild irritability
  • Fever
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting

When a child receives a booster dose of Rotarix vaccine, tell the doctor if the previous dose caused any side effects. Tell the doctor if you child has a serious side effect of Rotarix vaccine including persistent/high fever greater than 102 degrees F (39 degrees C).


Rotavirus vaccines have been shown to dramatically reduce severe rotavirus disease caused by homotypic and heterotypic vaccine strains in a range of socioeconomic settings. The potential impact has not been fully realized as rotavirus vaccines have not been universally introduced into national immunization programs. To date, relatively few countries in Asia have introduced rotavirus vaccine, though several countries in the region are planning to add rotavirus vaccine to their national routine immunization schedules in the next 5 years. While VE is lower in low- and middle-income settings compared with high-income settings, research continues to demonstrate modifiable factors that may contribute to this disparity. Over the next decade, new rotavirus vaccines and vaccines currently in development may overcome some of the barriers to maximize the impact of current rotavirus vaccines.

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