Many doctors still dread to recommend rotavirus vaccination thinking that it may increase the chances of bowel blockage, known as intussusceptions, in children. Many studies have shown that vaccination can considerably reduce the number of hospitalizations due to severe diarrhea in infants. One of the rotavirus vaccines, RotaShield, was recalled from the market as it increased the risk of intussusceptions. Some other studies also showed a connection between the two.
The results of the present study, published in, Journal of the American Medical Association, shows that RV5 rotavirus vaccine that is currently used does not increase the risk of bowel blockage. The study analyzed data from more than 800,000 doses of this vaccine given in the US.
Children who have the roatvirus experience:
Infection by rotavirus may range from mild to severe and it spreads easily from one child to another through contact. As per the CDC recommendations, all infants should get vaccinated for the rotavirus. There are two available rotavirus vaccinations – RotaTeq (RV5) vaccine and Rotarix (RV1) vaccine. The present study looked at the effects of the Rota Teq vaccine.
In this study, researchers analyzed the risk of intussusceptions in infants between the ages of 3-weeks-old and 34-weeks-old who received RV5 rotavirus vaccine from May 2006 to February 2010. More than 800,000 doses of the vaccinations were studied, and more than 300,000 were first doses. Researchers observed the infants for the first seven days after vaccination. The risk of intussusceptions is highest during these days. Data from the infants for the next 30 days after vaccination were also analyzed.
Results show that infants who received this vaccination did not have any high risk of intussusceptions, when compared to infants who got other recommended childhood vaccines during the same time period. The researchers conclude that the study shows that vaccination is safe for the effective control of rotavirus disease.
Tamara R. Kuittinen, MD, director of medical education at the department of emergency medicine at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, remarks that the new study results are reassuring. Vaccine reduces the rates of hospitalization and now it is known to do so without increasing the risk of intussusceptions, she adds. This study will encourage more and more people to get their infants vaccinated.
Paula Hertel, MD, an assistant professor of pediatrics in the section of gastroenterology, hepatology, and nutrition at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, reminds us that the problem occurred because it was given off the usual schedule. This study shows very clearly that the vaccine has reduced the number of hospitalizations due to rota virus infections and can be given safely to infants. Doctors can encourage people to give this vaccine to infants.