Reactions to the Rotavirus Vaccine

Rotavirus is a viral disease that causes gastroenteritis, the symptoms of which are: severe diarrhea, vomiting and dehydration. Statistically, almost all children are likely to have been exposed and/or infected with the rotavirus by age 5.

Before the development of a vaccine to combat rotavirus, this disease was a common and serious, and often life-threatening for children. Since the introduction of different types of the rotavirus vaccine, documented medical treatment for rotavirus has dropped dramatically with the vaccine, providing tremendous protection against this dangerous medical condition.

Notwithstanding the benefits of the rotavirus vaccine, children and infants with certain medical conditions and medical histories should not receive this vaccine. Ask your child’s pediatrician if the rotavirus vaccine is appropriate for your child.

Severe adverse reactions to the rotavirus vaccine are rare. One significant medical complication thought to be caused by the rotavirus vaccine is a condition known as intussusception. This is a “telescoping” of the intestinewhere one section slides or folds inside another section of the bowel, which can cause compromised blood supply, intestinal blockage, tears in the intestine, infection and death. The causes of this in children is not well understood. Studies conducted on the different rotavirus vaccines that were developed have demonstrated an association between the vaccine and the development of intussusception in rare instances.. This is an extremely rare complication and it is important to remember that with any vaccine, or medication or medical treatment for that matter, the risks must be weighed against the benefits. The overwhelming consensus is that the benefits of the rotavirus vaccine outweigh the health risks of not being vaccinated against this disease.


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