Two rotavirus vaccines, one live attenuated and the other a hybrid of bovine and human rotaviruses, have been used in routine infant vaccinations since 2006 in the United States and Europe. The vaccines produce immunity 80% and 98% of the time in industrial nations and 39% to 77% in developing nations. Because of the vaccine’s success in the United States and Europe, other countries have adopted it as part of their infant vaccinations. A review of the vaccine’s effect in El Salvador, Panama, and Mexico since 2008 has shown positive results. There has been a decrease in childhood mortality due to diarrhea, a decrease in the severity of cases, and a decrease in the number of hospitalizations because of diarrhea.
Two important conclusions have been drawn from these studies. First, the vaccine should be included in standard infant vaccinations around the world. Second, the benefits go beyond the protection of those that are inoculated. Vaccination generates herd immunity so the decline in cases is greater than would be expected. Furthermore, the pattern of vaccination combined with the reduction in cases suggests that infants are important in the transmission of rotavirus. As a result, we can optimistically look forward to a precipitous decline in the number of rotavirus cases in the world.
There is much more information about the implications of the rotavirus vaccine studies in this Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal article: