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Rotavirus Vaccine is Highly Effective at Preventing Disease


A post-licensure study of pentavalent rotavirus vaccine found a complete three-dose series was 85 percent to 89 percent effective against rotavirus disease requiring an emergency department visit or inpatient admission, and 100 percent effective against severe disease. The study, “Effectiveness of Pentavalent Rotavirus Vaccine in a Large Urban Population in the United States,” is published in the February issue of Pediatrics (appearing online Jan. 18). Before the vaccine was licensed in February 2006, clinical trials found it 98 percent effective against severe rotavirus disease.

In 2008, researchers in Houston set out to test how well the vaccine works in clinical practice, which can differ from the ideal conditions of a clinical trial. Researchers examined the immunization records of 90 children at Texas Children’s Hospital with lab-confirmed cases of rotavirus, and compared them to the immunization records of children who did not have rotavirus. They found a complete three-dose series of pentavalent rotavirus vaccine was 100 percent effective against the most severe rotavirus disease. Partial immunization with one or two doses offered 79 percent and 89 percent protection, respectively. Authors conclude that pentavalent rotavirus vaccine is highly effective against severe rotavirus disease and that even partial immunization confers substantial health benefits.


The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 60,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit