Rotavirus vaccine in NICUs does not lead to outbreaks, study shows

Rotavirus vaccines do not cause significant outbreaks of the disease in neonatal intensive care units (NICUs), according to a new national study. The research will be presented at the Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) 2024 Meeting, held May 3-6 in Toronto. 

The findings are important, study authors say, because many NICUs avoid vaccinating against rotavirus due to a theoretical risk of transmission, yet some infants are too old to receive the vaccine once discharged from the NICU. The study conducted at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia evaluated the risk of vaccinated patients transferring rotavirus to unvaccinated patients in NICUs that administer the vaccine.

According to researchers, preterm infants are at higher risk of the highly contagious but preventable virus, yet few receive the vaccine in hospital settings. The rotavirus vaccine contains a weakened form of the virus to produce a stronger immune response.

The study found that 99.3% of non-vaccinated patients exposed to vaccinated patients did not test positive for the disease. Non-vaccinated patients that contracted rotavirus had no symptoms after 14 days, according to the study.

Immunization with rotavirus vaccine has been standard practice in the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia NICU since 2007, and the safety of this practice was supported by retrospective clinical data published in Pediatrics in 2014 – however this remains an uncommon practice in NICUs across the United States. Our yearlong, prospective study done in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that benefits of vaccinating NICU patients against rotavirus outweigh risks. Inpatient vaccination allows protection of a vulnerable population against a common, preventable cause of severe diarrheal illness."

Kathleen Gibbs, MD, study's lead neonatologist from Children's Hospital of Philadelphia

The study analyzed 3,448 weekly stool samples from 774 patients between January 2021-January 2022.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
Post a new comment

While we only use edited and approved content for Azthena answers, it may on occasions provide incorrect responses. Please confirm any data provided with the related suppliers or authors. We do not provide medical advice, if you search for medical information you must always consult a medical professional before acting on any information provided.

Your questions, but not your email details will be shared with OpenAI and retained for 30 days in accordance with their privacy principles.

Please do not ask questions that use sensitive or confidential information.

Read the full Terms & Conditions.

You might also like...
Climate change policies neglect children's mental health and specific needs, study reveals