Once an infant has been exposed to rotavirus, it takes approximately 2 days for symptoms to appear. Infants and children develop vomiting and watery diarrhea that may last 3-8 days, and fever and abdominal pain occur frequently. A child may have rotavirus gastroenteritis more than once, because there are many different rotavirus types, but repeat infections tend to be less severe than the original infection.
The RotaTeq vaccine is a liquid given to infants by mouth, with the first dose given between 6-12 weeks of age and two additional doses administered at 4- to 10-week intervals. All three doses should be completed before a child reaches 32 weeks of age. RotaTeq may be given to pre-term infants according to their age in weeks since birth.
Another vaccine for rotavirus was withdrawn in 1999 because of cases of intussusception (a blocking or twisting of the intestine) associated with the administration of that particular vaccine. A large study of over 70,000 children did not show an increased risk of intussusception for RotaTeq when compared to those infants who received placebo.
You may wish to administer RotaTeq separately from other childhood vaccines, since not enough data are available to confirm that RotaTeq does not interfere with childhood vaccines that prevent pertussis when they are given at the same time.