Immunization protects you from disease.Get protected, get immunized.
The rotavirus vaccine protects against rotavirus infection. Unlike most vaccines, your child will get the rotavirus vaccine by mouth (instead of with a needle).
This vaccine is given to babies starting at age 2 months.
Your child needs 2 or 3 doses of this vaccine, depending which one they get. This vaccine is given by mouth at ages 2 and 4 months or at ages 2, 4, and 6 months.
Check with your public health nurse to find out if your baby needs 2 or 3 doses.
The rotavirus vaccine protects your child against diarrhea from the rotavirus infection. Protection is:
Your child can get the vaccine at a public health office in your area.
There can be side effects from the rotavirus vaccine, but they tend to be mild and go away in a few days. Side effects may include:
It’s important to stay at the clinic for 15 minutes after your vaccine. Some people may have a rare but serious allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. If anaphylaxis happens, you will get medicine to treat the symptoms.
It’s rare to have a serious side effect. Call Health Link at 811 to report any serious or unusual side effects.
There is a very low risk (1 to 7 cases per 100 000) of intussusception after the rotavirus vaccine. Intussusception is when one part of the intestine slides into another part (like a telescope). This causes a blockage in the intestine. If this happens, it’s usually within 7 days after the first dose. The risk of intussusception is even lower after the second or third dose.
Your child may not be able to have the vaccine if they:
Check with your child’s doctor or a public health nurse before they get the vaccine.
Tell your child’s healthcare provider if you took medicine while you were pregnant or breastfeeding. Some medicines can make your child’s immune system weak.
Your child can still have the vaccine if they have a mild illness, such as a cold or fever.
The vaccine virus may be in your baby’s stool (poop) for up to 10 days after they get the vaccine. Wash your hands carefully after you change your baby’s diapers and before you touch food. The risk of spreading the virus after immunization is highest around day 7, but this isn’t common.
If your child lives with someone who’s pregnant or has a weak immune system, they can still have the vaccine. But anyone with a weak immune system should not change your child’s diapers for 10 days after they had the rotavirus vaccine (if this is possible).
Always tell your healthcare provider if your child has allergies or if they had a side effect from a vaccine in the past.
What is rotavirus? Rotavirus is a common infection that causes fever and vomiting. It’s usually followed by diarrhea. Almost all children who don’t get immunized will get the rotavirus infection by age 5 years.
Who’s most at risk?
Children age 3 months to 2 years have the highest risk of serious infection.
How does it spread? Rotavirus is spread through infected stool. This can happen when infected stool gets into your mouth from hands, diapers, or surfaces such as change tables or toys.
The virus can live for a long time on surfaces. It can spread before symptoms appear and up to 3 weeks after having diarrhea. Some people don’t have symptoms but can still spread the disease.
Go to the
rotavirus page on MyHealth.Alberta.ca to find out more.
Current as of: August 11, 2020
Author: Provincial Immunization Program, Alberta Health Services
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