Rotavirus Vaccine


What is Rotavirus infection?

Rotavirus is a virus that causes diarrhea (sometimes severe), mostly in babies and young children below 5 years. The infection is often accompanied by vomiting and fever and can lead to dehydration. The infection may last for 3 to 8 days. Children may stop eating and drinking while they are sick.


Note: Rotavirus is not the only cause of diarrhea, but is one of the most serious causes.


How is it transmitted?

Rotavirus is highly infectious, entering the body through the mouth. The virus is found in the stool (feces) of infected people and can be spread by hands, baby objects and toys, and diaper-changing surfaces.


Note: Rotavirus can spread even before or after children become sick with diarrhea, and is commonly spread in families, hospitals, and childcare centers.


How can children be protected from Rotavirus infection?

Better hygiene and sanitation have not reduced Rotavirus diarrhea very much. The best way to protect your baby from Rotavirus diarrhea is with the Rotavirus vaccine.


Note: the Rotavirus vaccine will not prevent diarrhea or vomiting caused by other viruses, but is very effective again Rotavirus infection.


How many doses of Rotavirus vaccine will children receive?

Health Authority-Abu Dhabi (HA-AD) has recently introduced the Rotavirus vaccine to the childhood immunization schedule.


There are two brands of Rotavirus vaccine. Both are effective, but make sure that your baby continues with the same brand of vaccine. Your baby may have either 2 or 3 doses, depending on which brand is used. Your provider can tell you which brand your baby is receiving.


Doses are recommended at these ages:

•    First dose:        2 months

•    Second dose:    4 months

•    Third dose:        6 months (if needed)


The first dose may be given as early as 6 weeks of age, and by a maximum age of 14 weeks 6 days. The last dose should be given by 6 or 8 months of age (depending on which brand is used)


Note: Rotavirus vaccine may be given at the same time as other childhood vaccines.


Is the vaccine safe?

The Rotavirus vaccine is safe and effective at preventing Rotavirus disease. The vaccine is like any other medicine and may cause some side effects; babies may become irritable or have mild, temporary diarrhea or vomiting after Rotavirus vaccination.


The risk of severe reaction is very small; some studies have shown a small increase in cases of intussusception within a week after the first dose of Rotavirus vaccine. Intussusception is a type of bowel blockage that is treated in a hospital. The estimated risk is 1 intussusception case per 100,000 infants.


Note: Always go the doctor if you notice your child has any unusual or sudden symptoms.


Who should not get the Rotavirus vaccine or who should wait?

Tell your doctor:

•    if your baby has had a severe (life-threatening) allergic reaction to a dose of Rotavirus vaccine, or has severe allergies to food, specific substances, or medicines or latex

•    is moderately or severely ill. This includes babies who have moderate or severe diarrhea or vomiting

•    if your baby's immune system is weakened because of:

     – HIV/AIDS or any other disease that affects the immune system

     – treatment with drugs such as long-term steroids

     – cancer or cancer treatment with radiation or drugs

•    if your baby has ever had intussusception


What if I have more questions about the vaccination?

If you have more questions about the vaccination, please contact Health Authority-Abu Dhabi (HA-AD) at 800 555.