Introduction: In Australia, post-marketing surveillance for intussusception following vaccination commenced with funding of RotaTeq(®) and Rotarix(®) vaccines under the National Immunization Program (NIP) in July 2007.
Methods: Two active surveillance mechanisms (hospital-based case ascertainment and monthly reports from paediatricians) identified intussusception cases between 1st July 2007 and 31st December 2008 in four states. Linkage to vaccination records identified cases occurring within 1-7 and 1-21 days of rotavirus vaccination. Expected cases within the post-vaccination windows were calculated by applying rates of intussusception from national hospitalisation data over 6 years (mid-2000 to mid-2006), by age and state, to numbers vaccinated (by dose) according to the Australian Childhood Immunization Register.
Results: Combining exposure windows associated with all doses of rotavirus vaccine from 1 to 9 months of age, there was no evidence of an increased risk of intussusception following vaccination for either vaccine. However, in infants 1 to <3 months of age, there was suggestive evidence of excess intussusception cases 1-7 and 1-21 days following dose 1 (1-7 days: RotaTeq(®) relative risk (RR)=5.3, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.1,15.4; Rotarix(®) RR 3.5, 95% CI 0.7,10.1; 1-21 days: RotaTeq(®) RR 3.5, 95% CI 1.3, 7.6; Rotarix(®)RR 1.5, 95% CI 0.4, 3.9). There was no evidence that clinical outcome of intussusception occurring within 21 days of rotavirus vaccination differed from that in cases occurring later post-vaccination.
Conclusion: Although we found no overall increase in intussusception following receipt of rotavirus vaccine, there was some evidence of an elevated risk following the first dose of both vaccines. Larger population-based studies using linked databases are required to provide more definitive evidence.
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