FDA Issues Warning for Rotavirus Vaccine

Vaccinations are a hotly debated topic among parents. A lot of parents feel that there is no longer a need for vaccinations and that we are over medicating our kids with unresearched products. Other people feel that serious illnesses were wiped out because of vaccination and that if everybody stops vaccinating we will see a resurgence of things like polio, the mumps and measles.

I personally am of the mind set that each family needs to do research and make the decision that is right for their family. There have been some excellent blogs that have been written about vaccination which are linked below. However, this FDA warning is something I think all parents need to be aware of.

The FDA approved a vaccine in 2006 for the rotavirus which is the leading cause of diarrhea in infants. The vaccine is given in three doses with the first year. However, did you know that the vaccine was pulled off the market in 1999 for the same reason the FDA is currently issuing the warning?

Apparently, this vaccine is associated with an increased risk of a condition known as intussusception. Intussusception occurs when one portion of the bowel slides into the next, (like the pieces of a telescope). When this occurs, it creates an obstruction in the bowel, with the walls of the intestines pressing against one another. This, in turn, leads to swelling, inflammation, and decreased blood flow to the intestines involved. It is treated with either an enema or by surgery.

The makers of the newer version of the vaccine are not concerned about the FDA warning. They feel that the number of cases that are being seen are what would occur naturally. In initial trials, it was not felt that the vaccine increased the number of cases, however, they are still doing follow up and longitudinal studies to determine if there are really any serious risks.

For me, the moral of the story is not to run away screaming from this vaccine. However, parents need to do their research and be aware of the risks and potential complications of the vaccinations their child receives. In this particular case, it seems that you are more likely to suffer at the hands of the virus than you are to suffer as a result of the vaccine. Despite that, each family needs to consider their own circumstances and whether or not this is a good vaccine for their child to get.

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