The Rotavirus Vaccine: Health 101

Is the rotavirus vaccine really necessary?

Though many children who come down with rotavirus will recover on their own, experts still recommend that babies get the vaccine for the following reasons:

  • Rotavirus is so contagious, especially during winter months, that it can be difficult to prevent. In severe cases, babies and young children may need to go to the emergency room to get rehydrated.
  • If your child still manages to contract rotavirus (the vaccine isn't 100 percent effective), the severity of the illness will not be as bad (less vomiting, diarrhea, and risk of dehydration).
  • The rotavirus vaccine may also reduce side effects from other strains of stomach flu viruses.

Sources: Neal Halsey, MD, director of the Institute for Vaccine Safety at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health in Maryland and a member of the Parents magazine board of advisors. Stanley Cohen, MD, pediatric gastroenterologist at the Children's Center for Digestive Health Care in Atlanta, Georgia. David B. Nelson, MD, chair and professor of pediatrics at Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, DC. Rita Steffen, MD, a pediatric gastroenterologist at the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio. FDA section on RotaTeq. CDC sections Rotavirus Vaccination.

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