Rotavirus vaccines have reduced the number of children hospitalized for severe rotavirus-associated diarrhea by as much as 94 percent in some years, according to research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The study, "Rotavirus Vaccines and Health Care Utilization for Diarrhea in the United States (2007-2011)," in the July 2014 Pediatrics (published online June 9), analyzed hospital data around diarrhea illnesses both before and after rotavirus vaccine was first recommended in 2006.
Rotavirus-associated hospitalizations and all diarrhea hospitalizations were substantially lower for children younger than 5 years old from 2007 to 2011, especially among 1-year-olds. During 2009-2011 there was also a significant reduction in emergency department and outpatient visits. In the 2009-2010 rotavirus season, rates of rotavirus-related hospitalizations declined by 94 percent compared with pre-vaccine rates. Unvaccinated children also had lower rates of hospitalization in the post-vaccine years, due to indirect benefits of vaccination. Overall, during 2007 to 2011, the study authors estimate rotavirus vaccination reduced diarrhea-related health care visits by 1.5 million visits, for a savings of $924 million in the U.S.
Study authors conclude rotavirus vaccination has resulted in a substantial and sustained decline in diarrhea-associated health care use and related costs.