Skip to main content

Rotavirus vaccine, live

Generic name: rotavirus vaccine, live (oral) [ ROE-ta-vye-ris-VAX-een ]
Brand names: RotaTeq, RotaShield, Rotarix
Dosage form: oral suspension (pentavalent)
Drug class: Viral vaccines

Medically reviewed by on Sep 20, 2023. Written by Cerner Multum.

What is rotavirus oral vaccine?

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.

The RotaTeq brand of rotavirus oral vaccine is for use in children between the ages of 6 weeks and 32 weeks old.

The Rotarix brand of rotavirus oral vaccine is for use in children between the ages of 6 weeks and 24 weeks old.

Like any vaccine, the rotavirus oral vaccine may not provide protection from disease in every person.

Rotavirus oral vaccine side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult 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, a blockage of the intestines. Call the doctor at once if your child has severe stomach pain, severe or ongoing diarrhea or vomiting, bloody stools, high fever.

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.

Also call the doctor at once if the child has:

  • a seizure;

  • ear pain, drainage from the ear;

  • 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 of rotavirus vaccine, live may include:

  • ear infection;

  • fussiness or crying;

  • loss of appetite, diarrhea, vomiting;

  • fever;

  • wheezing, cough; or

  • runny nose, sore throat.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call the 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.


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.

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, if the child has ever had intussusception (a blockage of the intestines), 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:

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 the doctor's instructions or the schedule recommended by your local health department.

Rotavirus vaccine, live dosing information

Usual Pediatric Dose for Gastroenteritis:

Rotarix(R): 1 mL, orally, for 2 doses, administered at least 4 weeks apart

RotaTeq(R): 2 mL (1 dosing tube), orally, for 3 doses, administered 4 to 10 weeks apart

-Administer beginning at 6 weeks of age; the 2 dose series/Rotarix(R) should be completed by 24 weeks of age; the 3 dose series/RotaTeq(R) should be completed by 32 weeks.
-Rotarix(R): If the infant spits out or regurgitates most of the dose, a single replacement dose may be considered at the same visit.
-RotaTeq(R): If the infant spits out or regurgitates most of the dose, do not replace the dose - continue the remaining doses as scheduled.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Contact the doctor if your child misses a booster dose or if he or she gets behind schedule. 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.

What other drugs will affect rotavirus oral vaccine?

Before receiving this vaccine, tell the doctor about all other vaccines your child has received.

Also tell the doctor if your child has recently received drugs or treatments that can weaken the immune system, including:

  • steroid medicine;

  • cancer treatments;

  • medicine to treat or prevent malaria;

  • medications to treat psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, or other autoimmune disorders; or

  • medicines to treat or prevent organ transplant rejection.

If you child is using any of these medications, he or she may not be able to receive the vaccine, or may need to wait until the other treatments are finished.

This list is not complete. Other drugs may affect this vaccine, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible drug interactions are listed here.

Further information

  • The vaccination provider, pharmacist, or doctor can provide more information about this vaccine. Additional information is available from your local health department or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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.