Rotavirus

Contagious virus spread by faeces and saliva; causes severe gastroenteritis and fever.

Effects of the disease

About eight in 100 are taken to an emergency department; four in 100 are hospitalised.

How to immunise and when

Rotavirus vaccine is the best way to protect children against rotavirus disease. The vaccine will not prevent diarrhoea and vomiting caused by other infectious agents.

Rotavirus vaccine is given in two doses. The vaccine is given orally, at the same time as other vaccines at 2 and 4 months of age.

There is an upper age limit for the administration of rotavirus vaccine.

It is very important to give each dose on time, as late doses cannot be given. The safety of the vaccine has not been tested in older babies or children. It is important, therefore, to ensure that your child receives this vaccine as close to the recommended age as possible.

Side effects of immunisation

Up to three in 100 develop diarrhoea or vomiting. There is a slightly increased risk of intussusception, a rare form of bowel blockage, associated with the rotavirus vaccine. However, the risks of rotavirus are many times greater than the very small risk of immunisation.

If you have any concerns about side effects of vaccines, talk to your doctor or nurse.

Page last updated: 10 Aug 2017