Rotavirus Vaccine Loses US Federal Backing

Reuters news service reported in the October 25, 1999 issue of USA Today that a US federal health panel has withdrawn its recommendation that infants be vaccinated with the rotavirus vaccine. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices said that when it comes to the rotavirus they, "no longer recommends immunization of infants."

The concern is that there is an incidence of an intestinal problem, intussusception, a type of bowel obstruction that can occur within two weeks of immunization. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) survey found a significantly higher relationship between these problems and children who were immunized with the rotavirus. Reportedly there were 102 cases of intussusception in vaccinated children when only about a dozen cases were expected.

John Livengood, director of epidemiology and surveillance in the National Immunizations Program of the CDC commented, "We felt that the risk of an adverse reaction to the vaccine, in the case intussusception, outweighed the potential benefit the parents would likely see in their individual child."