Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Response: Routine vaccination of US children to protect against rotavirus began in 2006. The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of implementation of rotavirus vaccine on gastroenteritis and rotavirus hospitalizations of children younger than 5 years old.
The main finding from this study is that hospitalizations for diarrhea in U.S. children younger than 5 years old decreased dramatically during 2008 to 2012 following implementation of routine rotavirus vaccination in 2006. Additionally, seasonal peaks of hospitalizations for rotavirus illness were considerably reduced after the vaccine was implemented compared to years prior to rotavirus vaccination.
By 2012, rates of rotavirus hospitalization declined by approximately 90% across all settings and age groups. Factors such as increasing vaccine coverage as well as herd immunity resulting in less transmission of rotavirus may be responsible for this large decrease.
Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?
Response: Rotavirus vaccination is the most effective method to prevent serious rotavirus illness in young children. The findings of this study confirm the importance of continued efforts to increase rotavirus vaccination rates to match those of other established childhood vaccines.
Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Response: Continued monitoring of vaccine impact will provide information regarding long-term effects of rotavirus vaccine to the public as well as clinicians, public health professionals, and other stakeholders. Further study of methods to increase rotavirus vaccine coverage through enhancing access to healthcare and communicating the benefits of vaccine is recommended.
Eyal Leshem, MD, Division of Viral Diseases,, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,, & Atlanta, Georgia (2015). Pediatric Hospitalizations For Children Dropped Almost 90% After Rotavirus Vaccine Implemented