Rotavirus vaccine is safe, study finds

More than 500,000 babies around the world die each year from severe diarrhea and dehydration caused by rotavirus. A widely used vaccine for the pathogen was pulled from the market in 1999 out of concerns that it raised a baby’s risk of developing intussusception, a potentially deadly intestinal blockage. Now, a new study by Harvard School of Public Health research fellow Irene Shui finds that the orally administered RotaTeq vaccine, one of several recent options, does not elevate intussusception risk.

Shui conducted the research while at Harvard Pilgrim Health Care. She and her colleagues examined the records of nearly 800,000 babies who had been given RotaTeq vaccine. The results were published in the March 7, 2012, issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association. Read abstract

She told Voice of America that it is important to continue to monitor these vaccines with additional studies like hers.

In an interview with NPR, Shui noted that the benefits of the vaccine far outweigh the risks. However, she added, “It’s important for the public to realize that every treatment or intervention does have some risk.”

Watch the Voice of America video and read the NPRstory