Rotavirus is a common virus that causes vomiting and diarrhea, especially in infants and young children. Childcare centers are a common site of outbreaks.
The vaccine, which is a liquid given by mouth, is recommended at ages 2 and 4 months, and again at 6 months, depending on the brand of vaccine used.
Why the Vaccine Is Recommended
Rotavirus can cause severe diarrhea, which can lead to dehydration and, for some kids, hospitalization. Besides protecting the individual child, vaccination against rotavirus can help stop spread in the community.
Side effects can include diarrhea and vomiting, and a fever.
When to Delay or Avoid Immunization
The vaccine is not recommended if your child:
is currently sick, although simple colds or other minor illnesses should not prevent immunization
had a severe allergic reaction to a previous dose of the vaccine
has severe combined immune deficiency (SCID), a genetic disorder
Your doctor may determine that the benefits of vaccinating your child outweigh the potential risks.
Caring for Your Child After Immunization
For pain and fever, check with your doctor to see if you can give either acetaminophenoribuprofen, and to find out the appropriate dose.
If vomiting or diarrhea happen, give your child small amounts of fluid often and watch for signs of dehydration, such as less urine (pee) than usual.
When to Call the Doctor
Call if you aren't sure if the vaccine should be postponed or avoided.
Call if there are problems after the immunization.
Rarely, some kids will develop intussusception within a week of getting the first dose of the vaccine. So after the first dose, watch for symptoms such as periods of intense abdominal pain with uncontrollable crying; vomiting; blood or mucus in the poop; and seeming weak, drowsy, or fussy.