In the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers studied the effectiveness of the rotavirus vaccine.
Rotavirus is a common cause of severe diarrhea in young children. Nearly all children worldwide suffer rotavirus infection before age 5, and it is the most common cause of hospitalization among children in the U.S.
A study in the African country of Niger looked at the efficacy of live, oral rotatviurs vaccine to prevent severe diarrhea. Healthy infants received three doses of the vaccine at 6, 10, and 14 weeks.
There were significantly fewer children who suffered from rotavirus infections in the treated group, and the researchers reported that the vaccine efficacy rate was only 69 percent. But there were 27 deaths in the vaccine group and 22 in the placebo group.
Rotavirus can be a dangerous disease, especially in Third World countries. It should be taken seriously. Although this study found the vaccine treated group fared better, the number of deaths in the treated group outweighs any benefit seen.
Currently, the rotavirus vaccine is recommended as part of the childhood immunization schedule. This study should make us pause and demand further research on this vaccine.
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