the High Authority of Health recommends the vaccination of infants

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    Rotaviruses are responsible for much acute viral gastroenteritis each winter and mainly affect young children, especially children under 5 years of age. Due to the complications that can arise and according to the latest data on their efficacy and safety, the Haute Autorité de Santé now recommends the two existing vaccines against rotavirus for infants aged 6 weeks to 6 months.

    Gastroenteritis is sometimes caused by rotaviruses and causes fever, vomiting, and diarrhea in young children. Generally benign gastroenteritis carries a significant risk of dehydration and can lead to hospitalization.

    The HAS recommends two vaccines

    To prevent these high-risk situations, which can quickly develop in toddlers, the High Authority of Health (HAS) recommends vaccinating infants from six weeks to six months of age. Two vaccines have a marketing authorization in France: Rotarix® and RotaTeq®. A time allowed then finally suspended”due to serious side effects”the HAS reassessed these two vaccines in “taking into account the most recent efficacy and tolerability data“.

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    “Highly Effective” Vaccines

    In its press release, the HAS states “confirms the very good efficacy of these two vaccines” and reminds that their action “makes it possible to prevent these infections, as well as severe forms of gastroenteritis, which can lead to emergency room visits and/or hospitalization”.

    The only serious side effect mentioned is the “increased risk of acute intussusception (AII) is estimated to be up to 6 cases per 100,000 children within 7 days of vaccination”. For this, the HAS recommends a “systematic information from parents about this risk and especially their awareness of the suggestive clinical signs to be monitored during the 7 days after vaccination: unusual crying, refusal to eat or drink, vomiting, pallor, hypotonia, presence of blood in the stool “.

    A “problem in coping with intussusceptions”

    for dr. Andreas Werner, pediatrician and president of the French Association of Ambulatory Pediatrics (AFPA), “the withdrawal of the recommendation only took place in France, the vaccine has always been recommended at European level. However, it was not a vaccination problem, but rather the management of acute intussusception” the doctor emphasizes. “It should be remembered that the incidence of IAA is higher than the excess risk taken with the vaccine and it can also be caused when the child has gastroenteritis, also unrelated to the vaccine. he insists.

    Two or three doses

    The two rotavirus vaccines are administered orally and their vaccination schedule depends on the product chosen:

    • Two doses at a 2 and 3 month lifespan with Rotarix®;
    • Three doses at a 2, 3 and 4 month lifespan with RotaTeq®.

    As a reminder, the HAS indicates that these vaccines “may be co-administered with other vaccines in the infant vaccination schedule” and that he”recommended to carry out the entire vaccination schedule with the same vaccine”.

    No obligation at the moment

    The health authority emphasizes the importance of respecting the vaccination schedule of doses in order to complete the vaccination of the child on time. She also emphasizes that these vaccines do not protect against other forms of gastroenteritis caused by other viruses.

    Hygienic measures such as hand washing, as well as other preventive elements such as breastfeeding or the rapid management of symptoms by administering a rehydration solution, should always be applied.

    Finally, the HAS does not impose an obligation on this vaccine, but recommends”awareness among general practitioners” to get a “satisfactory” vaccination rate quickly. dr. Werner also believes that “the role of pediatricians is to inform parents about the vaccine options available and to support them in their choices. As for me, all my career I have always vaccinated children against the rotavirus, I think the risk to the child is higher if he has gastroenteritis than with this vaccine.”

    A vaccine used in 127 countries

    Recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO), the European Academy of Pediatrics and the European Society for Pediatric Infectious Diseases, vaccination against rotavirus infections is used in 127 countries worldwide.

    In countries that have reached “vaccination coverage over 80% in infants, the reduction in hospital admissions due to acute gastroenteritis due to rotavirus is significant and ranges from 65 to 84%Currently, gastroenteritis in France causes about 20,000 hospitalizations per year.

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