The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that healthcare providers and parents postpone use of the rotavirus vaccine, known as the RotaShield (RRV-TV), in infants until November, when rotavirus season begins in most parts of the US. The recommendation, issued July 15 follows reports that some infants given rotavirus vaccine have developed a type of bowel obstruction known as intussusception. In this disorder, the bowel telescopes in on itself, leading to blockage that can require surgery. Symptoms of intussusception include vomiting, bloody stools, black stools, abdominal bloating and severe colic pain, and should be reported to a doctor immediately, according to the CDC.
As of July 7, 1999, 15 cases of intussusception have been reported among vaccinated infants. Thirteen of the infants developed the condition following the first dose of the three-dose RRV-TV series and 12 developed symptoms within 1 week of receiving any dose.
Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 1999;48:577-581.
COMMENT: An estimated 1.5 MILLION DOSES of the rotavirus vaccine have been administered to infants since it was licensed for use in the United States less than one year ago. Following the CDC’s move, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) issued the same recommendation. The good news is that within a one-week period the AAP has issued two warnings about immunizations. Last week it was hepatitis B vaccination and this week the Rotavirus. You can safely assume that most any vaccine that is developed will have some fairly significant potential downsides and it would be best to avoid.