Rotavirus is a virus responsible for acute gastroenteritis, which particularly affects infants and children under 5 years of age. In this area, the Ministry of Health estimates that all children encounter this virus before the age of 3, knowing that infections, which occur mainly in the form of winter epidemics, are most often benign and that recovery occurs in a few days: the treatment is primarily based on administration of oral rehydration solutions and generally does not require taking medication. However, although not serious in most cases, these gastroenteritis, due to the diarrhea, vomiting and fever they cause, can sometimes lead to dangerous dehydration and require hospitalization, especially in children. In France, each year these viruses are responsible for around 20,000 hospitalizations of children under the age of 3 and almost 60,000 consultations in general medicine, according to figures from the ministry. To prevent these severe forms, the High Authority for Health (HAS) recommends vaccination against rotavirus for all infants aged 6 weeks to 6 months.
Therefore, since 26 November, the rotavirus vaccines Rotarix and RotaTeq have been covered by the Health Insurance up to 65% (the rest is reimbursed by the supplementary health insurance), where vaccination is also possible free of charge in PMI or at a vaccination centre. “ Studies show that real-life rotavirus vaccination of fully vaccinated children under 5 years of age can reduce: by about 85% the incidence of gastroenteritis associated with rotavirus a by more than 80% emergency room visits and/or hospitalizations for rotavirus a,b, c,d gastroenteritis and up to 96% consultations in general medicine for rotavirus d gastroenteritis. “reveals the Swedish Health Insurance. There are actually 7 groups of rotaviruses (A, B, C, D, E, F, G) divided into serotypes. Group A alone accounts for 99% of the human infections diagnosed in France. The vaccine, which is not mandatory, is given to the child by the doctor or midwife orally: it is a “drinkable” vaccine, the child can be fed normally before and after the vaccine.
Rotavirus vaccines: the number of doses required depends on the vaccine used
However, the vaccination schedule is not the same depending on the vaccine used: one dose at 2 months of age and one dose at 3 months of age for Rotarix and one dose at 2 months of age, dose at 3 months of age and one dose at 4 months of age for RotaTeq. Both vaccines are equally effective and can be used interchangeably.” but if we started with a vaccine, we must continue immediately. ”, recommends the Ministry of Health, which publishes a dedicated FAQ available online. In its recommendations, the HAS insists on the importance of strictly adhering to this vaccination schedule in order to complete the course before the age limit, which is 6 months for Rotarix and 8 months for RotaTeq. In addition, the vaccine remains effective for at least two years and can be administered at the same time as other vaccines scheduled for the child’s schedule. It is available in pharmacies, then the doctor or midwife checks that the child has no contraindications, prepares the product and ensures that the child receives the full dose before filling in his medical record. “, adds the health insurance.
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Specifically, the vaccine will not be given to a child who is too old (over 4 months for the first dose and over 6 months for the last dose of Rotarix and 8 months for the last dose of RotaTeq) if he has a known allergy to any component of the vaccine if he has health problems that increase the risk of acute intussusception (malformation of the digestive tract) or if his immune system is weakened. In addition, the vaccination will be postponed for a few days if the child has a fever, diarrhea or is vomiting. They are live attenuated vaccines, that is, made up of live viruses, but very weakened so as not to cause infection. In response to the vaccine, the body produces antibodies that will protect against disease. One in 10 children may then have some digestive problems (diarrhoea), sometimes a slight fever. Finally, Sygesikringen emphasizes the need for health personnel to systematically inform parents of the increased risk of acute intussusception (IIA), that is, when a piece of intestine is folded in on itself, like a thimble or a telescope.
But as the Department of Health reports, “ this very rare situation occurs mainly during the first year of life. Excluding any vaccination, around 43 cases are registered per 100,000 children under the age of one per year. » After vaccination, the increased risk is estimated to be up to 6 cases per 100,000 children in the next 7 days. It is therefore recommended that health professionals make parents aware of the suggestive clinical signs to be aware of during this period: unusual crying, refusal to eat or drink, vomiting, pallor and the presence of blood in the stool. After a call to 15, the use of ultrasound allows early diagnosis as well as rapid intervention. “ With timely treatment, IIA is cured in the vast majority of cases without complications. “, says the health insurance. It should be noted that, in addition to the vaccine, the prevention of rotavirus infections also goes through the hands, which are the main carrier of infection, and therefore careful and frequent cleaning with soap or using a hydroalcoholic solution is important.