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Rotavirus vaccine side effects

Like all vaccines, the rotavirus vaccine can cause side effects, but they're generally mild and short-lived.

Common side effects of the rotavirus vaccine

Babies who have the vaccine can sometimes become restless and irritable, and some may develop mild diarrhoea.

Rare side effects of the rotavirus vaccine

Allergic reaction:

As with all vaccines, there is a very rare (approximately one in a million) possibility of the rotavirus vaccine causing a severe allergic reaction called anaphylaxis.

Anaphylaxis is very serious and a medical emergency, but with prompt treatment most people make a full recovery. All health professionals responsible for giving vaccines should be trained to recognise and treat anaphylaxis.

Blocked intestine:

In very rare cases (about two in every hundred thousand babies vaccinated), the rotavirus vaccine can affect the baby’s lower gut, and they may develop a rare gut disorder called intussusception, which causes a blockage in the intestine. The symptoms of intussusception are tummy ache, vomiting and sometimes passing what looks like redcurrant jelly in their nappy. If this happens, contact your doctor immediately.

What to do if your baby is unwell after the rotavirus vaccine

As with all vaccines, a few infants will have side effects, such as diarrhoea, though in general these are mild and short-lived. The vast majority of babies won’t have any problems at all. Also bear in mind that diarrhoea and vomiting in babies is common and is generally not related to the vaccine.

A baby can get rotavirus infection after being vaccinated – but it is usually milder than it would have been if they hadn’t been vaccinated. They can also get a positive rotavirus test after being vaccinated, but this does not usually last for very long – your doctor will not be able to tell whether the positive test is due to the vaccine or the natural infection.

If your baby is very unwell and/or the illness is going on a long time, or you're concerned in any way about their health following vaccination, please see your doctor.

How to report a vaccine side effect

The Yellow Card Scheme allows you to report suspected side effects from a vaccine. It's run by a medicines safety watchdog called the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

Last Updated: 17/02/2022 16:07:41
The information on this page has been adapted by NHS Wales from original content supplied by NHS UK NHS website