Rotavirus vaccine

The rotavirus vaccine helps protect you against rotavirus. Rotavirus can cause vomiting and diarrhoea, fever and dehydration and if not treated can lead to shock and death.

The vaccine contains small amounts of the live virus.

Some people may not be able to receive a live vaccine for medical reasons, please discuss with your doctor or immunisation provider for further information.

If your baby has had intussusception (a type of bowel obstruction) previously, they should not receive the vaccine. Speak to your immunisation provider for more information.

Vaccine recommendations

The rotavirus vaccine is available free as part of the National Immunisation Program and is offered to children at 6 weeks of age and 4 months of age. Australian children are given the brand Rotarix ®, which requires all children to have two doses. The first dose should be administered between 6 to 14 weeks of age and the second dose administered between 10 to 24 weeks of age. No doses should be given after the end of the 24th week of age.

How the rotavirus vaccine is given

The rotavirus vaccine is given as a liquid which is swallowed.

Possible side effects of the rotavirus vaccine

Like any medications, the rotavirus vaccine can have some minor and short lasting side effects.

Common side effects may include:

  • diarrhoea, which can occur within seven days
  • vomiting, which can occur within seven days.

Very rarely, other side effects may include:

  • intussusception after the first or second dose
  • a severe allergic reaction to the vaccine. 

If you are concerned, seek further advice from your doctor, immunisation provider, SA Health’s Immunisation Section or healthdirect Australia

Any unexpected event following immunisation should be reported to SA Health.

Reducing the side effects

Many of the common side effects can be reduced by:

  • drinking extra fluids
  • taking paracetamol
  • not overdressing if you are already hot.

Where to get immunised

To receive the vaccine contact your doctor, local council, community health centre or Aboriginal health centre to arrange an appointment. 

For further information on immunisation providers, see the Immunisation services page.