Common Infant Vaccine and Bowel Complication Risk
But chances of complication much lower than with previous rotavirus vaccine, studies show
Both vaccines are given by mouth. RotaTeq requires three doses, given between 6 weeks and 32 weeks of age. Rotarix requires two doses, given between 6 weeks and 23 weeks.
The risks must be weighed against the benefits, Yih said. "The vaccine is very effective in preventing severe diarrhea," she said.
Dr. Roya Samuels, a pediatrician at Cohen Children's Medical Center, in New Hyde Park, N.Y., said that more research is needed to pinpoint exactly what the risk is.
These findings are not a reason to bypass or decline the vaccine, she said, also citing the benefits of preventing the viral infection.
"If I were the parent of an infant, I would not decline it," researcher Yih said of the vaccine. "I'd do it for the protection of my child, and those who can't receive it due to being immunocompromised." Among those with weakened immune systems, she said, are children on certain cancer treatments.
There's no way to know if some children are more prone to the bowel problem after getting the vaccine, Samuels said. Yih found the problem more likely after the first dose of RotaTeq.
Parents can be aware of possible symptoms, Samuels said. "If you notice your child in distress, pulling his knees up to the chest, with severe colic or blood in the stools -- any of those -- within seven days of administration of the rotavirus vaccine, [it] would warrant a trip to the emergency room," she said.