Currently available vaccines internationally are the monovalent (RV1) Rotarix® (GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals, Rixensart, Belgium) and the pentavalent (RV5) RotaTeq® ((Merck & Co. Inc., West Point, PA, USA).
First indigenous rotavirus vaccine ROTAVAC® by Bharat Biotech has shown the life saving potential at low cost. It is yet to be approved by WHO for use in the Immunisation programmes globally in developing countries.
Rotavirus vaccine has been introduced into the country’s Universal Immunisation Programme (UIP) in 2014 as recommended by National Technical Advisory Group of India (NTAGI).
What is Rotavirus vaccine and how is it given?
Rotavirus vaccine contains live, oral, attenuated rotavirus strains of human and/or animal origin that replicate in the human intestine. The Rotavirus vaccines are very effective at preventing severe Rotavirus Gastroenteritis (RVGE) disease in infants and young children. Both vaccines are given by mouth (orally), and not by an injection.
According to WHO guidelines, first dose of rotavirus vaccine should be given as soon as possible after baby is 6 weeks old. Rotavirus vaccine can be administered along with other routine infant immunization vaccines like DTP without any interaction. Early doses ensure better protection of infants against RVGE.
Either RV1 or RV2 can be used for vaccination. If mixed doses are used, ensure administration of 3 doses at 4 weeks interval.
- RV1 should be given orally in a 2 doses schedule at 10 weeks and 14 weeks. The minimum interval between the doses should be 4 weeks. (According to revised IAP schedule 2014)
- RV5 should be given orally in 3 doses schedule at 6 weeks, 10 weeks and 14 weeks. The minimum interval between the doses should be 4 weeks.
- The first dose of either vaccine is most effective if it is given before an infant is 15 weeks old. Also, an infant should receive all doses of rotavirus vaccine before reaching 8 months age.
Special vaccination schedule should be designed for prematurely born infants according to their chronological age.
Rotavirus vaccine should be avoided in these cases
Infants who develop symptoms suggestive of hypersensitivity after receiving a dose of vaccine should not receive further doses of Rotavirus vaccine. Infants with Severe Combined Immunodeficiency Disease (SCID) should not receive the vaccine. Vaccination should be delayed if baby is suffering from acute gastroenteritis or fever with moderate to severe illness. These vaccines are not routinely recommended for infants with a history of intestinal malformations.
Marketed Rotavirus Products
Here is the list of WHO pre-qualified vaccine products available in market. Click on name of the product to know more.