Don't worry: what to expect in the days following the Rotavirus vaccination

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Philippe Gloaguen
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As with any vaccination, it is normal for parents to have some concern when the Rotavirus vaccine is given to their child, but it is important to know that the vaccine is sure e well tolerated and what serious adverse effects are very rare.

Here's what to expect in the days following the Rotavirus vaccination.

Immediately after administration

  • They are possible small regurgitation, which do not require re-administration of a new dose. In the case of true vomiting, the vaccinator will decide whether to re-administer the vaccine, which is possible withoutcontraindications.
  • The child can be attached to the breast o take formula milk even immediately after administration.

In the days following administration



As with all vaccines, unwanted reactions are also possible for the Rotavirus vaccine, in general minor and that within a week they resolve spontaneously:

  • gastrointestinal disturbances, such as diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain;
  • fever;
  • irritability, general malaise, loss of appetite;
  • rhinitis, with nasal discharge.

 In rare cases more serious adverse effects are possible such as

  • allergic reaction, a very rare but possible adverse reaction for any vaccine. It usually occurs within minutes to hours after the vaccine is given;
  • intestinal intussusception, a condition in which a part of the intestine gets stuck in the neighboring part, resulting in difficulty in passing stools and sometimes intestinal obstruction. Intussusception is the most common cause of intestinal blockage (acute intestinal obstruction) in children less than 2 years of age. The risk of intussusception is low in infants up to the 14th week of life and increases until it reaches the peak at 32 weeks of life. Rotavirus vaccination seems to involve a slightly higher than normal risk of intestinal intussusception, especially in the week following the first administration and to a much lesser extent after the second administration. Since the epidemiological peak of intussusception is around 32a week, vaccinate from 6a week, as required by the vaccination plan, and completing it as soon as possible (vaccination must be completed within 24 or 32 weeks of life depending on which vaccine is used) can reduce the risk of intussusception.
  • severe gastroenteritis in children with SCID (Severe Combined Immuno Deficiency), a very rare but severe global deficit of immune defenses present from birth and diagnosable with extended neonatal screening, also including severe immune deficiencies. If SCID is diagnosed, the vaccine is contraindicated.

These adverse events serious they are very rare.



 - beneficial effects of the vaccine (i.e. the prevention of gastroenteritis, including severe Rotavirus, which endanger the health of the child) far outweigh the possible side effects. Numerous studies in fact describe the effectiveness of the Rotavirus vaccine

  • in reducing the risk of Rotavirus gastroenteritis (79,3%)
  • in preventing severe forms of Rotavirus gastroenteritis (91,6%)
  • in reducing outpatient visits (86%), emergency room visits (50%) and hospital admissions (91%) for Rotavirus gastroenteritis.

Before vaccination, the vaccinating doctor will provide you with all the information on possible serious adverse events and instructions on what to do if necessary. For make a conscious and informed choice, you can contact your family pediatrician for any questions or clarifications regarding the Rotavirus vaccine.

After vaccination: be careful when changing your nappy!


The attenuated virus of the vaccine is eliminated from the child in the faeces in the days following vaccination (with a maximum around the seventh day), especially after the first administration. Being a living virus, albeit devoid of pathogenic capacity (i.e. to cause disease) in subjects with a normal immune system, it is possible that the virus can infect and cause illness in family members or however, people in contact with the child who have congenital immune deficiencies (present from birth) or acquired (cancer, immunosuppressive therapies). These people should therefore avoid contact with the child and especially with his feces. Anyway, it is important for everyone wash your hands well before and after changing the nappy and avoid putting your hands to your face or mouth during the change.


La gastroenteritis da Rotavirus is a serious illness and can be prevented with Rotavirus vaccination.

If you are an expecting mom, or if you have just had a baby, ask information immediately to your pediatrician about the Rotavirus vaccination: it is a great gesture of protection and love towards your baby.


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