Rotavirus is a virus that causes a severe diarrhea in infancy and before the introduction of the vaccine, the reports indicate that more than 55,000 – 60,000 infants were hospitalized with the disease each year and among them around 50 to 60 succumbed to their disease condition. The main cause of mortality in this disease condition is the extreme dehydration that occur when the child is suffering from the severe diarrhea as well as following episodes of vomiting.
The rotavirus infection is a highly contagious disease and its spread has not shown to be manageable by practicing hygienic methods that would have otherwise prevented certain diarrheal illness. Thus, in its failure to prevent the disease from spreading, the vaccine seems to be the best option as it has shown to prevent more than 90% of severe diarrheas and almost 70% of diarrheal episodes of any sort from occurring due to rotavirus infections.
The vaccine, unlike most of the other childhood vaccines, is an oral preparation rather than being in an injectable form. Thus, the administration of the vaccine is easy and is less stressful to the infant as well. The vaccines can be given when the child is 6 weeks or older and the complete course will have three doses scheduled to be given in the 2nd, 4th and on the 6th month.
If a certain brand is being used for the 1st and the second doses, the third dose would not be required and this have to be clarified with your health care provider before the infant is being subjected to vaccination. Apart from this, children who are older than 8 months of age would not be given the vaccination as researchers have failed to identify a significant correlation between the reduction of rotavirus infection and the vaccination being given at this age group.
Apart from the mild form of diarrhea, vomiting and irritability, many babies whom are given the rotavirus vaccine will tolerate it very well. But, in very rare occasions, as with other medicines and vaccines, the rotavirus vaccine also has a potential to develop allergic reactions which can vary from very mild episodes to severe anaphylactic reactions.
Finally, as the rotavirus vaccine is scheduled to be given in the same time periods as the other usual vaccinations, it is possible to give all the vaccines together and there would be no interaction between the vaccinations. Similarly, the infants who have been given the oral rotavirus vaccine should be fed normally and no alteration is necessary in their feeds.