Your baby might be extra fussy or experience mild side effects after each dose of the rotavirus vaccine, but this should go away in a few days. Complications from the vaccine are very rare, and the benefits far outweigh the risks.

Rotavirus is a contagious virus that causes diarrhea, vomiting, and fever. It mostly affects babies and children under age 5. Severe cases of rotavirus may require emergency medical treatment for dehydration.

Rotavirus used to be a common illness among children younger than 5 years. Today, vaccination against rotavirus prevents up to 50,000 hospitalizations of babies and young children in the United States.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that all newborn infants receive several doses of the vaccine starting at 2 months old.

Here’s what you can expect after your child receives the rotavirus vaccine.

The rotavirus vaccine comes with a risk of side effects. In general, though, the risks associated with getting the vaccine are lower than the risks associated with contracting the virus.

In fact, most babies don’t experience any side effects of rotavirus vaccination at all.

In other cases, side effects are mild and can include a temporary bout of gas, diarrhea, or vomiting the week after vaccination. Some infants might seem fussier than usual in the days following the vaccine.

Some healthcare professionals administer additional vaccines alongside the rotavirus vaccine. If that’s the case, your baby might experience other side effects following vaccination.

Your doctor should explain what to expect regarding the side effects of vaccination and when to seek medical care.

How long do side effects of the rotavirus vaccine last?

Side effects can last up to 7 days following rotavirus vaccination. But most infants recover within several days.

Keep in mind that side effects can occur after each dose of the vaccine. Babies in the United States typically receive two or three doses, depending on the brand of vaccine:

  • The RotaTeq (RV5) vaccine requires three doses at 2, 4, and 6 months.
  • The Rotarix (RV1) vaccine requires two doses at 2 and 4 months.
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Severe complications of rotavirus vaccination are very rare and can include intussusception or allergic reactions.

Intussusception occurs when part of the small intestine slides into the large intestine, creating a blockage. It’s a life threatening condition that requires immediate treatment. It affects approximately 1 out of every 20,000 to 1 out of every 100,000 infants who receive the rotavirus vaccine, typically within a week after either the first or second dose, according to the CDC.

Allergic reaction to the rotavirus vaccine is extremely rare. The risk of a severe reaction is approximately 1 out of 1 million doses, with symptoms appearing in the first hours after vaccination.

When taken as recommended, rotavirus vaccines are highly effective. The vaccine significantly decreases your child’s chances of developing symptoms after being exposed to the virus.

How common is rotavirus after vaccination?

According to the CDC, the vaccine protects approximately 90% of children exposed to the virus from developing severe symptoms and 70% to 80% of children from developing any symptoms at all.

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Plus, rotavirus vaccination has had population-wide effects. Since the introduction of the vaccine more than a decade ago, disease rates have decreased significantly in the United States.

According to a 2019 study, hospitalizations for rotavirus among children ages 4 and under decreased by more than 85% between 2000 and 2013.

Because of rotavirus vaccination, your child is less likely to be exposed to the virus in the first place.

If your child was recently vaccinated against rotavirus, you might be wondering what to expect.

When does diarrhea start after getting the rotavirus vaccine?

Mild diarrhea is a rare side effect of rotavirus vaccination. It can start anytime within a week after vaccination.

How long does a baby stay unsettled after the rotavirus vaccine?

Following the rotavirus vaccine, your baby might be fussy, cranky, or agitated. This side effect shouldn’t last more than a few days.

How long does rotavirus remain in a baby’s stool after vaccination?

Your child will receive the rotavirus vaccine rally via droplets. After vaccination, your baby excretes the virus in their stool. It can take up to 10 days for the virus to leave your baby’s stool.

Rotavirus prevention tips

Rotavirus is highly contagious. While adults can contract the virus, children are more likely to get it.

Rotavirus is transmitted through infected matter. You can get it from touching contaminated fecal matter, surfaces, objects, or food and then touching your mouth.

You can prevent rotavirus by washing your hands regularly and practicing good hygiene. But the best way to help your child avoid rotavirus is to get them vaccinated.

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Although rotavirus is much less common than it once was, it’s still important to get your child vaccinated. When fewer children are vaccinated, the chances of a rotavirus outbreak increase.

Vaccinated infants and children are much less likely to develop rotavirus symptoms or require hospitalization compared with unvaccinated infants and children. In addition, symptoms are less likely to be severe.

Your child might experience mild side effects, like fussiness, gas, or diarrhea. Severe complications are very rare. It’s clear that the benefits of the vaccine far outweigh the risks.

Talk with a doctor to learn more about how to protect your child from rotavirus.