Medically reviewed on December 15, 2017.
What is rotavirus oral vaccine?
Rotavirus oral vaccine contains up to five strains of rotavirus. It is made from both human and animal sources.
Infection with rotavirus can affect the digestive system of babies and young children, causing severe stomach or intestinal illness.
The rotavirus oral vaccine is used to help prevent this disease in children.
This vaccine works by exposing your child to a small dose of the virus, which causes the body to develop immunity to the disease. This vaccine will not treat an active infection that has already developed in the body.
Rotavirus oral vaccine is for use in children between the ages of 6 weeks and 32 weeks old.
Like any vaccine, the rotavirus oral vaccine may not provide protection from disease in every person.
Your child should not receive this vaccine if he or she has severe combined immunodeficiency disease (SCID). This vaccine should not be given if the child has a history of an intestinal problem called intussusception (in-tuh-suh-SEP-shun).
Before taking this medicine
Your child should not receive this vaccine if he or she has ever had a life-threatening allergic reaction to a rotavirus oral vaccine, or if the child has severe combined immunodeficiency disease (SCID).
If your child has any of these other conditions, this vaccine may need to be postponed or not given at all:
HIV or AIDS;
a current stomach illness or diarrhea;
a congenital stomach disorder or recent stomach surgery;
if the child has recently received drugs that weaken the immune system (such as steroids, medicines to treat psoriasis or rheumatoid arthritis, medicines to prevent organ transplant rejection, chemotherapy or radiation);
if the child has recently received a blood transfusion; or
if the child is allergic to latex rubber.
Your child can still receive a vaccine if he or she has a minor cold. In the case of a more severe illness with a fever or any type of infection, wait until the child gets better before receiving this vaccine.
Tell the doctor if anyone living with or caring for the child has cancer or a weak immune system, or is receiving radiation/chemotherapy or using steroids.
How is rotavirus oral vaccine given?
Your child will receive this vaccine in a clinic, hospital, or doctor's office. The rotavirus oral vaccine is given as an oral (by mouth) liquid.
The RotaTeq brand of rotavirus oral vaccine is given in a series of 3 doses. The first dose is usually given when the child is 6 to 12 weeks old. The booster doses are then given at 4-week to 10-week intervals before the child reaches 32 weeks of age.
The Rotarix brand of rotavirus oral vaccine is given in a series of 2 doses. The first dose is usually given when the child is 6 weeks old. The second dose is then given at least 4 weeks after the first dose, but before the child reaches 24 weeks of age.
Your child's booster schedule may be different from these guidelines. Follow your doctor's instructions or the schedule recommended by your local health department.
Tell your doctor if your child spits up or vomits within 1 or 2 hours after receiving rotavirus oral vaccine. The child may need to receive a replacement dose to be fully protected from rotavirus.
Always wash your hands after handling the diapers of a child who has been given the rotavirus oral vaccine. Small amounts of the virus may be passed in the child's stool and could possibly infect others who come into contact with the child's stool.
What happens if I miss a dose?
Contact your doctor if you miss a booster dose or if you get behind schedule. Your child may not be protected from rotavirus if the doses aren't given within 10 weeks of each other. Be sure your child receives all recommended doses of this vaccine.
What happens if I overdose?
An overdose of this vaccine is unlikely to occur.
What should I avoid after receiving rotavirus oral vaccine?
For up to 15 days after receiving rotavirus vaccine, the child should avoid coming into contact with anyone who has a weak immune system. There is a chance that the virus could be passed from the child to that person.
Avoid receiving the doses of this vaccine in different clinics or from different doctors. Your child should receive the same brand of rotavirus oral vaccine for all doses given. Different brands of this vaccine may not have the same dosing or booster schedule.
Rotavirus oral vaccine side effects
Get emergency medical help if your child has any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Your child should not receive a booster vaccine if he or she had a life threatening allergic reaction after the first shot. Keep track of any and all side effects your child has after receiving this vaccine. When the child receives a booster dose, you will need to tell the doctor if the previous shot caused any side effects.
Rotavirus oral vaccine may cause intussusception in some people. Intussusception is when a section of the intestine folds over into itself, creating an obstruction in the bowel. Call your doctor as soon as possible if your child has stomach pain or bloating, vomiting (especially if it is golden-brown to green in color), bloody stools, grunting or excessive crying, and eventually weakness and shallow breathing.
Becoming infected with rotavirus is much more dangerous to your child's health than receiving this vaccine. However, like any medicine, this vaccine can cause side effects but the risk of serious side effects is extremely low.
Call your doctor at once if the child has:
seizure (black-out or convulsions);
severe or ongoing diarrhea;
ear pain, swelling, or drainage;
fever, chills, cough with yellow or green mucus;
stabbing chest pain, wheezing, feeling short of breath;
pain or burning with urination; or
high fever, redness of the skin or eyes, swollen hands, peeling skin rash, chapped or cracked lips.
Common side effects may include:
mild fussiness or crying;
stuffy nose, sinus pain, sore throat.
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report vaccine side effects to the US Department of Health and Human Services at 1 800 822 7967.
See also: Side effects (in more detail)
What other drugs will affect rotavirus oral vaccine?
Before receiving this vaccine, tell the doctor about all other vaccines your child has received.
Other drugs may interact with rotavirus oral vaccine, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Tell each of your health care providers about all medicines you use now and any medicine you start or stop using.
Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.
Copyright 1996-2018 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 7.01.
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- Drug class: viral vaccines
Other brands: RotaTeq