Why get vaccinated?
Rotavirus vaccine can prevent
Rotavirus causes diarrhea, mostly in babies and young children. The diarrhea can be severe, and lead to dehydration. Vomiting and fever are also common in babies with rotavirus.
Rotavirus vaccine is administered by putting drops in the child's mouth. Babies should get 2 or 3 doses of rotavirus vaccine, depending on the brand of vaccine used.
Almost all babies who get rotavirus vaccine will be protected from severe rotavirus diarrhea.
Another virus called porcine circovirus (or parts of it) can be found in rotavirus vaccine. This virus does not infect people, and there is no known safety risk. For more information, see
Update on Recommendations for the Use of Rotavirus Vaccines.
Rotavirus vaccine may be given at the same time as other vaccines.
Before the vaccine was available
Before rotavirus vaccine, rotavirus disease was a common and serious health problem for children in the United States. Almost all children in the United States had at least one rotavirus infection before their 5th birthday. Each year, tens of thousands had to be hospitalized, and some died.
Talk with your health care provider
Tell your vaccine provider if the person getting the vaccine:
Has had an
allergic reaction after a previous dose of rotavirus vaccine, or has any
severe, life-threatening allergies.
weakened immune system.
severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID).
Has had a type of bowel blockage called
In some cases, your child's health care provider may decide to postpone rotavirus vaccination to a future visit.
Infants with minor illnesses, such as a cold, may be vaccinated. Infants who are moderately or severely ill should usually wait until they recover before getting rotavirus vaccine.
Your child's health care provider can give you more information.
Risks of a vaccine reaction
Irritability or mild, temporary diarrhea or vomiting can happen after rotavirus vaccine.
There is also a small risk of intussusception from rotavirus vaccination, usually within a week after the first or second vaccine dose. Intussusception is a type of bowel blockage that is treated in a hospital and could require surgery. It happens naturally in some infants every year in the United States, and usually there is no known reason for it. This additional risk is estimated to range from about 1 in 20,000 US infants to 1 in 100,000 US infants who get rotavirus vaccine. Your health care provider can give you more information.
As with any medicine, there is a very remote chance of a vaccine causing a severe allergic reaction, other serious injury, or death.
What if there is a serious problem?
For intussusception, look for signs of stomach pain along with severe crying. Early on, these episodes could last just a few minutes and come and go several times in an hour. Babies might pull their legs up to their chest. Your baby might also vomit several times or have blood in the stool, or could appear weak or very irritable. These signs would usually happen during the first week after the first or second dose of rotavirus vaccine, but look for them any time after vaccination. If you think your baby has intussusception, contact a health care provider right away. If you can't reach your health care provider, take your baby to a hospital. Tell them when your baby got rotavirus vaccine.
An allergic reaction could occur after the vaccinated person leaves the clinic. If you see signs of a severe allergic reaction (hives, swelling of the face and throat, difficulty breathing, a fast heartbeat, dizziness, or weakness), call
9-1-1 and get the person to the nearest hospital. For other signs that concern you, call your health care provider.
Adverse reactions should be reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). Your health care provider will usually file this report, or you can do it yourself. Visit the
VAERS website or call
VAERS is only for reporting reactions, and VAERS staff do not give medical advice.
The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program
The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) is a federal program that was created to compensate people who may have been injured by certain vaccines. Visit the
VICPexternal icon website or call
1-800-338-2382 to learn about the program and about filing a claim. There is a time limit to file a claim for compensation.
How can I learn more?