In developing countries, over half a million children die from rotavirus every year and two million more are severely sickened or hospitalized, making rotavirus the leading cause of diarrhea deaths and illness worldwide. Since rotavirus cannot be easily controlled by drugs or even by improvements in water and sanitation, the development of a rotavirus vaccine represented a major global health breakthrough.

Recently however, the future of rotavirus vaccines was called into question when one rotavirus vaccine was pulled from the market due to safety concerns. A new study, published last month in the Journal of the American Medical Association, dispels these concerns, finding that the rotavirus vaccines currently in use pose no significant safety risks.
This is good news for children worldwide. It’s important to note, however, that not all children are currently immunized against rotavirus. A major goal for the coming decade will be to increase rotavirus vaccine coverage, along with other routine immunizations. By doing so, we can significantly reduce preventable child mortality and improve global child health and development.
To read the JAMA article on rotavirus vaccine safety, click here. You can also find additional information on the study in this Voice of America news article.
Photo by Graham Colm