Rotavirus Vaccine In Babies : All You Need to Know

4 min read

Babies fall sick ever so often! As a parent, when you think it is something serious and panic during that first viral attack, the doctor says it’s normal and nothing to worry about. When you think it is normal vomiting and diarrhea, they scare you it could be Rotavirus! Now, what exactly is Rotavirus? Why do many parents and sometimes even the governments of developing nations panic about this and insist on the Rotavirus vaccine? Read on to find out all about this dreaded disease!

Rotavirus vaccine

What is Rotavirus?

Rotavirus, as the name suggests, is a virus and not bacteria that affects very young babies. It affects the majority of babies. Not every case is severe and no your baby needs not to be hospitalized unless it is severe. The cases range from mild – which can be treated at home, to severe that requires hospitalization for a few days and sometimes can even lead to death. Yes, you read that right! Death! But this is very rare and happens only in a very few cases where the baby is not diagnosed and treated at the right time.

baby vomiting

Onset of Rotavirus:

So, what exactly happens when a baby is infected with Rotavirus? How do you identify a Rotavirus infection?

The onset of Rotavirus causes a mild fever. It is then followed by an upset stomach that can cause vomiting and diarrhea. When the diarrhea is very frequent, watery, green, or brown in color accompanied by a foul smell, it is a warning bell that it can be a severe infection.

Frequent vomiting and severe diarrhea will cause dehydration, which can cause the baby to go into shock or suffer from convulsions.

So, how do you know your baby is dehydrated? Watch out for these signs in your baby:

  • Very Thirsty
  • Less or No Urination
  • The Mouth appears Dry and Feels Sticky
  • Dry Skin
  • No Tears
  • Soft Sunken Spot on the Head of a Baby
  • Lethargic
  • Cranky /Restless

While the symptoms of Rotavirus infection are common symptoms for any infection in a baby, if they seem to be serious and last for more than a day, one should immediately call the doctor.

What is Rotavirus Vaccine?

The Rotavirus vaccine is in liquid form and is given by the mouth. It is given to babies at 2 months, 4 months and for certain brands, the third dosage at 6 months of age is given.

baby getting rotavirus vaccine

Can the Vaccine be Given to all Babies?

Please note the Rotavirus vaccine age limit is 8 months and a baby over 8 months SHOULD NOT be given this vaccine as per general recommendation. Do check with your doctor before you make a decision.

When to Avoid the Vaccine?

If you are asking “when should I avoid my baby’s Rotavirus vaccine”? here is when:

  • Severe allergic reaction to the previous dose of the vaccine or any components of the Rotavirus vaccine
  • In case of Severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID), also known as Swiss-type agammaglobulinemia,  a rare genetic disorder
  • A previous episode of intussusception, a medical emergency involving obstruction of the intestine.
  • Diseases affecting the immune system like HIV/ AIDS or cancer
  • Treatments using steroids

In all the above instances, you must discuss with your doctor and give them a full background of your baby’s health before you give them the Rotavirus Vaccine.

Importance of Rotavirus Vaccine:

Wonder “why should my baby have the Rotavirus vaccine?” or are there any benefits of the Rotavirus vaccine?

This virus has symptoms similar to most other infections that are common in babies. If left unchecked, the Rotavirus can cause severe dehydration in a baby, which can sometimes be difficult to identify in small babies. Since it is a highly contagious disease, it is advisable to give your baby the Rotavirus vaccine, unless your doctor says otherwise.

mom taking care of sick baby

Side Effects of Rotavirus Vaccine:

If you have given your baby the shot, then here are the side effects in babies to watch out for:

  • Mild/temporary diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Intussusceptions – a bowel blockage that might require surgery in few cases

Allergic reactions to the Rotavirus vaccine can be seen within minutes of administering the vaccine. However, the more serious side effects like mentioned above should ideally not last more than a week. If they persist, please contact your doctor immediately.


Here are some frequently asked questions regarding the Rotavirus Vaccine:

1. Is Rotavirus Vaccine Necessary?

Yes, it is safer to get your baby vaccinated against this disease that has symptoms similar to any other infection.

2. What is the Rotavirus Vaccine Age Limit?

The Rotavirus vaccine is administered to babies between 2 and 8 months of age.

3. Is there a Rotavirus Vaccine Schedule?

Rotavirus vaccine is generally given at 2 months, 4 months and at 6 months if a third dosage is necessary.

4. What is the Rotavirus  Vaccine Cost?

The Rotavirus vaccine cost depends on the brand as one requires 2 dosages while the other requires 3. Please check with your pediatrician.

5. Is Rotavirus Contagious?

Yes, Rotavirus is highly contagious. It can not only spread easily between babies (especially in a baby care center) but can also spread to the adults handling the babies as well. It can transfer to other babies through the adult as well.

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