Vaccine for Kids Rocks

Rotavirus hospitalizations among vaccine-eligible children decrease

(RxWiki News) Rotavirus can happen to anyone, but is most dangerous for infants and the elderly. A vaccine is now available for young children between the ages of 6 and 12 weeks.

In a new study, researchers examined the effectiveness of the vaccine by counting the number of children hospitalized for diarrhea and vomiting in the Cincinnati, OH, Nashville, TN and Rochester, NY areas in 2008. The study, published in 2011, found rotavirus hospitalizations among vaccine-eligible children decreased 87 to 96 percent.

"Ask your pediatrician if your infant can receive the rotavirus vaccine."

Daniel C. Payne, MSPH, PhD, of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, confirms that introducing the rotavirus vaccination to U.S. children has significantly decreased hospitalization rates for diarrhea and vomiting. These reductions far exceeded estimates of the vaccine's impact.

Even older children not eligible to receive the vaccine benefited as well. Hospital rates in 2008 for this age group decreased by 92 percent in kids who were too old to have been immunized. Apparently, vaccinating infants in the community and homes also protects older children from contracting this contagious virus, observed Payne. He adds that the indirect benefit, however, was not present during the following year when an unforeseeable rise in rotavirus rates occurred, possibly due to the effects wearing off.

Further observation is required to truly know the role of the rotavirus vaccination, its side benefits and how long it lasts. United States rotavirus infection rates should continue to be observed.

This study is available online in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases.

Review Date: 
June 24, 2011