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Rotavirus vaccine side effects

Like all vaccines, the rotavirus vaccine can cause side effects, but they're usually mild and do not last long.

Common side effects of the rotavirus vaccine

Babies who have the vaccine can sometimes become restless and irritable, and some may develop mild diarrhoea.

Rare side effects of the rotavirus vaccine

Allergic reaction

As with all vaccines, there's a very small possibility (approximately 1 in 1 million) of the rotavirus vaccine causing a severe allergic reaction called anaphylaxis.

Anaphylaxis after a vaccination is very rare and is a medical emergency. If it does happen, it's usually quick (within minutes). The people who give vaccinations are trained to deal with anaphylactic reactions. With treatment, children recover completely.

Blocked intestine

Very rarely, (between 1 and 6 in every 100,000 babies vaccinated), the rotavirus vaccine can affect a baby's intestine (bowel), and they may develop a rare gut disorder called intussusception. This causes a blockage in the intestine.

The symptoms of intussusception are:

  • tummy ache
  • being sick
  • poo that looks like redcurrant jelly in the baby's nappy

If this happens, contact your doctor immediately.

More about vaccine side effects in babies

Find out more in this leaflet about what to expect after vaccinations on GOV.UK.

What to do if your baby is unwell after the rotavirus vaccine

As with all vaccines, a few babies will have side effects, such as diarrhoea, although they're usually mild and do not last long. Most babies will not have any problems at all.

Also, bear in mind that diarrhoea and vomiting in babies is common and may be unrelated to the vaccine.

A baby can get rotavirus infection after being vaccinated, but this is uncommon, and the illness is usually milder than it would have been if they had not been vaccinated.

See a GP if your baby is very unwell or the illness is lasting a long time, or if you're concerned in any way about their health after the vaccination.

How to report a vaccine side effect

The Yellow Card Scheme allows you to report suspected side effects from a vaccine.

It's run by the medicines safety watchdog the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

Page last reviewed: 24 February 2020
Next review due: 24 February 2023