Intussusception following rotavirus vaccine administration: post-marketing surveillance in the National Immunization Program in Australia

Vaccine. 2011 Apr 5;29(16):3061-6. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2011.01.088.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adverse Drug Reaction Reporting Systems / statistics & numerical data*
  • Australia / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Immunization Programs
  • Infant
  • Intussusception / chemically induced*
  • Intussusception / epidemiology
  • Product Surveillance, Postmarketing*
  • Risk Assessment
  • Rotavirus Vaccines / adverse effects*
  • Vaccines, Attenuated / adverse effects


  • RIX4414 vaccine
  • RotaTeq
  • Rotavirus Vaccines
  • Vaccines, Attenuated