Rotavirus vaccination in the neonatal intensive care units: where are we? A rapid review of recent evidence.

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PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Rotavirus is a leading cause of viral acute gastroenteritis in infants. Neonates hospitalized in neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) are at risk of rotavirus infections with severe outcomes. The administration of rotavirus vaccines is only recommended, in the United States and Canada, upon discharge from the NICU despite rotavirus vaccines being proven well tolerated and effective in these populations, because of risks of live-attenuated vaccine administration in immunocompromised patients and theoretical risks of rotavirus vaccine strains shedding and transmission.We aimed to summarize recent evidence regarding rotavirus vaccine administration in the NICU setting and safety of rotavirus vaccines in preterm infants.

METHODS: We conducted a rapid review of the literature from the past 10 years, searching Medline and Embase, including all study types except reviews, reporting on rotavirus vaccines 1 and 5; NICU setting; shedding or transmission; safety in preterm. One reviewer performed data extraction and quality assessment.

RECENT FINDINGS: Thirty-one articles were analyzed. Vaccine-derived virus shedding following rotavirus vaccines existed for nearly all infants, mostly during the first week after dose 1, but with rare transmission only described in the household setting. No case of transmission in the NICU was reported. Adverse events were mild to moderate, occurring in 10-60% of vaccinated infants. Extreme premature infants or those with underlying gastrointestinal failure requiring surgery presented with more severe adverse events.

SUMMARY: Recommendations regarding rotavirus vaccine administration in the NICU should be reassessed in light of the relative safety and absence of transmission of rotavirus vaccine strains in the NICU.


Lippincott Williams and Wilkins

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Current opinion in pediatrics







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