The rotavirus vaccine is definitely one vaccine you want to make sure your child gets.
Rotavirus is a gastrointestinal disease that causes an inflammation of the stomach and intestines. It can produce severe diarrhea along with vomiting, fever and abdominal pain. Dehydration is often a side effect and globally, it’s responsible for more than half a million deaths each year in children under the age of five.
This disease is bad news for youngsters, but since the Rotarix and RotaTeq vaccines were introduced - U.S. children have benefited greatly from the protection.
Most parents are good about making sure their kids receive all the recommended vaccines, but many wonder how effective these vaccines really are. A new study says that the rotavirus vaccines are 91-92 percent effective for children 8 months and older. That’s an excellent result.
The study, led by Margaret M. Cortese, MD, of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, aimed to find out the effectiveness of the rotavirus vaccine.
There are several types of rotavirus vaccines. Researchers looked at the effectiveness of the “monovalent” vaccine called RV1- that came out in 2008. They also reviewed data on the “pentavalent” vaccine RV5.
The researchers gathered files on all children who went to one of five hospitals in Georgia and Connecticut with severe diarrhea lasting no more than 10 days.
The children were all born after the RV1 vaccine had been introduced (2008).
The researchers tested their stools for rotavirus and looked at their immunization records.
The researcher then compared the vaccination history of the children who had rotavirus to those who did not have rotavirus.
There were 165 children who had rotavirus in their stool and 428 who tested negative for it.
When the researchers compared these groups, they found the RV1 rotavirus vaccine was 91 percent effective for children 8 months and older.
The RV5 was 92 percent effective based on comparisons between those two groups.
Then the researchers compared the children who had rotavirus to another group of children who were not sick at all. Their data was pulled from the state electronic immunization information system, which stores data on children's vaccination history.
In this comparison, the RV1 rotavirus vaccine effectiveness was also found to be 91 percent for children aged 1 to 2 years old.
"RV1 and RV5 were both highly effective against severe rotavirus disease," the researchers wrote.
It’s truly amazing how valuable some of the vaccines available now are for our children.
Not all rotavirus cases turn out to be severe, but it is the most common cause of serious diarrhea among infants and young children. Since 2006 when the vaccine was introduced for U.S. infants, rotavirus –related hospitalizations have dropped by as much as 86 percent.
The study was published June 17 in the journal Pediatrics. The Research was funded by the CDC Emerging Infection’s Program.