Although Rotavirus is not a significant cause of mortality in the United States, it is a significant cause of morbidity as many young children (under the age of 5) go to the hospital each year with an unpleasant infection. The first Rotavirus vaccine that was licensed and recommended in the United States was RotaShield in 1999. However, due to an association with intussusception, the vaccine was pulled. In 2006, a new vaccine was licensed for the US, RotaTeq (RV5) along with Rotarix (RV1) in 2008. However, after the scare from RotaShield, the new vaccines are not consistently being administered.
This study outlines the biggest obstacles that are preventing the vaccine from being used as per recommendation. The data used in the study is not necessarily representative of the entire US, but rather sentinel sites. First of all, not all pediatricians recommend the vaccine as it is costly and not always covered by insurance. Also, many pediatricians do not follow the recommended schedule and are administering the vaccine when the children are older (recommended 3 doses of both RV5 and RV1 before a child is 32 months).
Although the vaccine tested very well in prelicensed trials, the current data on the effectiveness of the vaccine is somewhat scattered. However, by looking at insurance claims 3 doses of RV5 were 100% effective against preventing Rotavirus hospitalizations and 59% effective preventing all gastroenteritis infections.