Unlike most immunisations, rotavirus isn’t given by injection. It's given by mouth (orally) as a liquid at 8 weeks and again at 12 weeks of age.
If your baby's sick immediately after the immunisation, the vaccine will be given again.
Immunisation can also provide 'population protection'
What vaccine's used?
The Rotarix Oral Applicator is routinely used in Scotland.
I’ve heard it’s a live vaccine. Won’t that make my baby catch the illness or its symptoms?
No. The virus in the vaccine is weakened so that it doesn’t cause the illness. It helps your baby build up immunity to it, so that next time your baby comes into contact with the virus it can fight it off.
This means that if your child's infected with the real viruses their immune system will quickly recognise them and act to stop the infection.
The virus in the vaccine will pass through your baby’s gut and may be picked up by whoever changes his or her nappy. This may mean that people with a severely weakened immune system could catch the virus from your baby. Therefore, people whose immune systems are severely compromised because of a medical condition or treatment should avoid this sort of close contact with babies who've had the rotavirus vaccine for 14 days.
Anyone in close contact with a baby who's recently had the rotavirus immunisation should ensure good personal hygiene - for example washing their hands after changing a baby’s nappy.
Is there any reason why my child shouldn't be immunised?
There are very few babies who can't receive the rotavirus vaccine.
The vaccine shouldn't be given to babies who:
- have had anaphylactic reactions (severe allergic reaction) to a previous dose of the vaccine or any ingredients of the vaccine
- have certain rare, long-term conditions that'll be known to your GP - for example severe combined immunodeficiency disorder (SCID)
What if my baby is ill on the day the immunisation's due?
Unless your baby's very unwell (for example with a fever, diarrhoea or vomiting), there’s no reason to delay the appointment.
How do we know the vaccine's safe?
All medicines (including vaccines) are tested for safety and effectiveness by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). The vaccine meets the high safety standards required for it to be used in the UK and other European countries. The vaccine has been given to millions of people worldwide.
Once they're in use, the safety of vaccines continues to be monitored by the MHRA.