The rotavirus vaccine helps protect you against rotavirus. Rotavirus can cause vomiting and diarrhoea, fever and dehydration and if not treated can lead to shock and death.
The vaccine contains small amounts of the live virus.
Some people may not be able to receive a live vaccine for medical reasons, please discuss with your doctor or immunisation provider for further information.
If your baby has had an intussception (a type of bowel obstruction) previously, they should not receive the vaccine. Speak to your immunisation provider for more information.
The rotavirus vaccine is available free as part of the National Immunisation Program and is offered to children at 6 weeks of age and 4 months of age. Australian children are given the brand Rotarix ®, which requires all children to have two doses. The first dose should be administered between 6 to 14 weeks of age and the second dose administered between 10 to 24 weeks of age. No doses should be given after the end of the 24th week of age.
How the vaccine is given
The rotavirus vaccine is given as a liquid and swallowed.
Possible side effects
Like any medications, the rotavirus vaccine can have some minor and short lasting side effects.
Common side effects may include:
- diarrhoea, which can occur within seven days
- vomiting, which can occur within seven days
- a fever
Very rarely, a severe allergic reaction to the vaccine or an intussception after the first or second dose.
Any unexpected event following immunisation should be reported to SA Health.
Reducing the side effects
Many of the common side effects can be reduced by:
- drinking extra fluids
- taking paracetamol as per the instructions on the bottle
- not overdressing if you are already hot.
Where to get immunised
To receive the vaccine contact your doctor, local council, community health centre or Aboriginal health centre to arrange an appointment.
For further information on immunisation providers, see the Immunisation services page.