What Is the Rotavirus Vaccine Used For?
How Does the Rotavirus Vaccine Work?
This vaccine is a live attenuated vaccine. This means that it contains the living virus which has been altered in such a way as to prevent it from actually causing disease. However, the body's immune system still responds to it, providing future protection from the disease.
In general, live vaccines provide better protection from infections (compared to other types of vaccines) but can, in rare cases, actually cause the disease (particularly in people who have very weakened immune systems).
Can It Be Used in Older Children and Adults?
This vaccine is not recommended for adults or children older than 24 weeks old (for Rotarix) or 32 weeks old (for RotaTeq), as it has not been adequately studied in these age groups. Although some childhood diseases (like chickenpox) can be more severe when adults get them, this is not the case with rotavirus; adult rotavirus infections are usually fairly mild.
Off-Label Uses for the Rotavirus Vaccine