As most folks know, the rotavirus vaccine is an oral vaccine that is given to infants at two, four, and sometimes six months.
While many parents and pediatricians appreciate that it isn’t another shot, we are giving an oral vaccine to kids at a time when many of them still spit up a lot!
So what happens if they spit up after they get their dose?
When Infants Spit Up Their Rotavirus Vaccine…
The first thing you can do is try to help prevent them from spitting up the dose in the first place!
How do you do that?
It can help to give the dose of rotavirus vaccine before you give the infant their shots and then be sure to direct the dose towards the infant’s cheek and not simply towards the back of their mouth, which might gag them.
And if they still spit up?
“If for any reason an incomplete dose is administered (e.g., infant spits or regurgitates the vaccine), a replacement dose is not recommended, since such dosing was not studied in the clinical trials. The infant should continue to receive any remaining doses in the recommended series.”RotaTeq Prescribing Information
Then you don’t repeat the dose.
“The practitioner should not readminister a dose of rotavirus vaccine to an infant who regurgitates, spits out, or vomits during or after administration of vaccine. No data exist on the benefits or risks associated with readministering a dose. The infant should receive the remaining recommended doses of rotavirus vaccine following the routine schedule (with a 4-week minimum interval between doses).”Prevention of Rotavirus Gastroenteritis Among Infants and Children Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP)
Mostly because it hasn’t been studied, but also, it just isn’t practical. After all, how would you know how much of the vaccine was spit up? How much was swallowed and made it to the child’s small intestine where it can induce immunity.
Fortunately, few infants actually spit up their dose of rotavirus vaccine and the vaccine has been so effective, we don’t see very much rotavirus these days. So even if these infants who spit up one of their doses weren’t fully protected, as long as everyone else around them is vaccinated and protected, they can safely hide in the herd!
What about the rotavirus vaccine that was spit up?
“There are no case reports in the literature of health care providers contracting rotavirus during the process of administering the vaccine.”Rotavirus Vaccine: Questions and Answers for Health Care Providers
Even though it is an attenuated virus in the vaccine, the spit up should be carefully washed up and everyone who was possibly exposed should carefully wash their hands.
More on Rotavirus Vaccines
- When a Vaccine Doesn’t Count and Needs to Be Repeated
- Do You Ever Have to Restart an Immunization Series?
- Avoiding the Most Common Vaccine Errors
- Why Can’t My 9-Month-Old Get the Rotavirus Vaccine?
- Vaccines and the Risk of Intussusception
- Your Baby’s First Vaccines
- A Look at Each Vaccine: Rotavirus Vaccine
- IAC – Ask the Experts about Rotavirus Vaccines
- Prevention of Rotavirus Gastroenteritis Among Infants and Children Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP)
- Rotarix Dosage and Administration
- Dosage and Administration For RotaTeq
- RotaTeq Prescribing Information
- Quick answers to frequent rotavirus vaccine questions
- Rotavirus Vaccine: Questions and Answers for Health Care Providers
- Oral Rotavirus Vaccines: How Well Will They Work Where They Are Needed Most?
- ECDC – Expert opinion on rotavirus vaccination in infancy
- Rotavirus Vaccine Administration Errors — United States, 2006–2013