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​Rotavirus

This vaccine protects against Rotavirus. This disease is easily prevented with immunization.

What is Rotavirus?

  • A highly contagious disease caused by a virus found in stool and on contaminated hands and objects such as toys, door knobs, and change tables. Usually the contamination is invisible.
  • It only takes a small amount of this virus to cause illness. It can survive on surfaces for a long time. Many disinfectants do NOT kill the virus.
  • The virus is spread when a contaminated object is placed in the mouth.  Children can be contagious before becoming sick and up to 21 days after feeling better.
  • Symptoms can include diarrhea, vomiting, fever and stomach pain.  These symptoms can be severe and lead to dehydration, emergency room visits and hospitalization.   
  • Rotavirus infection is most common in children under 5 years and most severe in children 3 months to 2 years of age.

Who should get the Rotavirus vaccine?

  • Routinely given at 2, 4, and 6 months.
  • The first dose must be given before 15 weeks of age and the last dose must be given by 32 weeks.
  • This vaccine is not given by a needle. It is a small amount of sweet liquid the baby drinks.

What if a dose is missed?

  • Your child should get the next dose as soon as possible
  • If your child didn’t follow the routine immunization schedule a "catch-up" schedule will be recommended

What if I decide not to have my child immunized?

  • Choosing not to immunize your child or delaying immunization puts your child at risk of getting sick with rotavirus and its complications.

Talk to your doctor/public health nurse if your child:

  • Had a bad reaction to the vaccine or an ingredient in the vaccine
  • Taking medications or has any diseases that lower the immune system
  • Had intussusception  (a form of bowel obstruction) or malformation of the gastrointestinal system
  • Feeling very sick (diarrhea, vomiting or fever)
  • Lives with or has contact with people who have cancer or have a weak immune system

Is Rotavirus vaccine safe?

Yes! Infants rarely have any side effects from this vaccine. Some may experience temporary mild diarrhea or vomiting. Serious reactions (e.g., hives, swelling of the mouth or throat, trouble breathing or intussusception) are extremely rare.  

There is a small chance that the virus from the vaccine will be present in the stool of some vaccinated children for up to 10 days after immunization. This weakened virus is unlikely to cause illness in healthy people.  As a precaution, good hand washing after diapering, before food preparation and eating is recommended - especially for those with a weakened immune system.

When should I call my doctor?

Serious reactions after vaccination are very rare.  Get immediate medical help if your child have any unusual symptoms such as:

  • trouble breathing, swelling in your face/mouth and/or blotchy skin (hives)
  • fever above 40°C (104°F)
  • crying or fussing for more than 24 hours
  • severe stomach pain, swollen belly
  • blood in stool

You know best.  If you notice anything that is not normal after a vaccination, check with your healthcare provider.

If you have any questions speak with your health care provider.

Remember:

  • Make sure to update your immunization record
  • Notify the Health Unit each time your child receives a vaccine by phone (519-753-4937 ext. 451) or online

Sources: Public Health Agency of Canada (Canadian Immunization Guide), Publicly Funded Schedules for Ontario (March 2015)

This information is for general knowledge only and does not replace professional medical advice. Please note there is a cost for immunizations that are not included in Ontario’s Publicly Funded Immunization Schedule. For more information contact us at 519-753-4937 ext. 492 or email@bchu.org.

Immunization Updates and Appointment Booking
519-753-4937 ext. 451