RotaTeq is a vaccine given to infants to prevent rotavirus, a virus that can cause severe diarrhea. It is taken orally in three separate doses, each given 4 to 10 weeks apart. The product is a live vaccine, meaning that it contains the living virus which has been altered in such a way as to prevent it from actually causing disease.
What Is RotaTeq?
RotaTeq® (rotavirus vaccine) is a childhood vaccine approved to prevent rotavirus. It is given by mouth as a series of three separate doses. Rotavirus causes severe diarrhea in infants and young children, sometimes resulting in hospitalization (and even death, in rare cases).
RotaTeq is different from the previously available rotavirus vaccine, RotaShield®, which was withdrawn from the market due to serious side effects.
(Click RotaTeq Uses for more information on what the medication is used for, including possible off-label uses.)
Thimerosal Content and Other Concerns
Parents who are concerned about exposing their children to thimerosal can be confident that this vaccine contains no thimerosal (a mercury-containing preservative), not even in trace amounts. Some parents are concerned about aluminum content of vaccines; this vaccine contains no aluminum.
This vaccine is not made from human fetal components, as some vaccines are. It is, however, made from bovine (cow) components.
Who Makes RotaTeq?
RotaTeq is made by Merck & Co., Inc.
How Does RotaTeq Work?
This vaccine is a live attenuated vaccine. This means that it contains the living virus which has been altered in such a way as to prevent it from actually causing disease. However, the body's immune system still responds to it, providing future protection from the disease.
In general, live vaccines provide better protection from infections (compared to other types of vaccines), but can also --rarely -- actually cause the disease (particularly in people who have very weakened immune systems).
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Vaccine information statement: rotavirus vaccine (8/28/08). CDC Web site. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/vis/downloads/vis-rotavirus.pdf. Accessed July 27, 2009.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). About rotavirus (3/26/07). CDC Web site. Available at http://www.cdc.gov/rotavirus/about_rotavirus.htm Accessed July 27, 2009.
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