17 Rotavirus

17.5 Recommended immunisation schedule

RV5 is recommended (and funded) for all infants. (See section 17.5.2 for RV5 age limit information).

Immunisation is especially encouraged for those who will be attending early childhood education services or where there is an immune-compromised individual living in the household.

Infants who have already had rotavirus gastroenteritis should still receive the full course of immunisation. Initial rotavirus infection only provides partial protection against subsequent infection.1, 20

17.5.1 Routine schedule

Three RV5 doses are given orally, at ages 6 weeks, 3 and 5 months.

17.5.2 Catch-up schedulesTop

The first dose of RV5 should be given before age 15 weeks (ie, 14 weeks and 6 days), with subsequent doses administered at a minimum dose interval of four weeks. An infant who has not had the first dose before age 15 weeks will not be able to commence the rotavirus course. Where the first dose is inadvertently given at age 15 weeks or older, the remainder of the series should be completed, but all three doses should be given by age 8 months and 0 days.1 The age limits for initiating and completing the vaccine series are recommended because there is insufficient safety data on the use of these vaccines outside this age range.

17.5.3 Preterm infantsTop

It is best to vaccinate preterm infants as they leave hospital. However, if discharge is not anticipated before age 15 weeks, then giving rotavirus vaccine in hospital is acceptable. If the standard universal precautions are maintained, administration of rotavirus vaccine to hospitalised infants, including hospitalised preterm infants, would be expected to carry a low risk for transmission of vaccine viruses.41