Rotavirus Vaccination Appears Safe to Administer in NICU

Administering the rotavirus vaccine in the neonatal intensive care unit appears to be safe, despite previous literature discouraging the practice, according to a study in Pediatrics.

Infants should receive the rotavirus vaccine by 104 days old, after which they become age-ineligible. However vaccination is discouraged during hospitalization due to concerns with live attenuated virus transmission.

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Researchers retrospectively identified unvaccinated infants located near vaccinated infants within 15 days of vaccination. They screened unvaccinated infants for gastrointestinal symptoms to identify potential transmission.

Researchers identified 24 vaccinated infants in the NICU and 801 neighboring unvaccinated infants.

Seventy-six percent of vaccinated infants had no symptoms after vaccination. Of those who did have symptoms, they were not related to the vaccination. Of the neighboring unvaccinated infants, 1.2 percent experienced symptoms, but, again, none were directly related or attributed to the vaccination.

Researchers concluded the vaccine was "well tolerated" in infants in the NICU, and the majority of post-vaccination symptoms were attributed to pre-existing symptoms. They suggest further evaluation of safety and transmissibility is still needed.

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