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Vaccinating Kids Against Rotavirus Reduces Infection

baby getting rotavirus vaccine

Update (1/16/14): Our readers have pointed out that the original stock photo (which showed a needle vaccine) did not illustrate the rotavirus vaccine (which is taken orally) properly. We apologize for the error and confusion; the photo has been updated.

It's no secret that vaccines are a hot-button topic for may parents, with many either for or against. But the latest research on vaccinations, specifically the rotavirus vaccine (which was only created in 2006), provides a good reason for parents to visit the pediatrician's office.

Researchers at the Texas Children's Hospital revealed in a new study that kids who did not receive the rotavirus vaccine were three times more likely to be infected by the virus. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the rotavirus is contagious and the leading cause of gastroenteritis (also know as the stomach flu) in babies and young children. The stomach and intestines become inflamed, which lead to symptoms of abdominal pain, diarrhea, and vomiting.

The study focused on young patients for over two years at the hospital and determined their rotavirus coverage, the highest being over 80 percent and the lowest being under 40 percent. Of those patients, only 10 percent in the high-coverage group contracted the rotavirus versus 31 percent in the low-coverage group. "This shows that there is an association between not being vaccinated and getting the disease," said lead researcher Leila Sahni.

The rotavirus vaccine is only given orally, and babies must receive three doses in their first year. The study was funded by the CDC and published in Pediatrics, though this is not the first time the CDC has been involved in rotavirus research. Last year, the CDC also released a report that the rotavirus could cause "a small risk of a dangerous intestinal blockage," but the benefits of the vaccine (including reduced children's healthcare costs) outweighed the minimal issue.

Learn more about the rotavirus vaccine and the stomach flu. And make sure to print this free vaccine schedule for babies and toddlers and the one for preschoolers and older kids.

Sherry Huang is a Features Editor for Parents.com who covers baby-related content. She loves collecting children's picture books and has an undeniable love for cookies of all kinds. Her spirit animal would be Beyoncé Pad Thai. Follow her on Twitter @sherendipitea

Vaccines for Babies and Older Kids

Image: Nurse giving baby Rotavirus vaccinevia Shutterstock