Why Aren't We Achieving High Vaccination Rates for Rotavirus Vaccine in the United States?

Acad Pediatr. 2022 May-Jun;22(4):542-550. doi: 10.1016/j.acap.2021.07.003. Epub 2021 Jul 10.


Background: Rotavirus vaccine (RV) coverage levels for US infants are <80%.

Methods: We surveyed nationally representative networks of pediatricians by internet/mail from April to June, 2019. Multivariable regression assessed factors associated with difficulty administering the first RV dose (RV#1) by the maximum age.

Results: Response rate was 68% (303/448). Ninety-nine percent of providers reported strongly recommending RV. The most common barriers to RV delivery overall (definite/somewhat of a barrier) were: parental concerns about vaccine safety overall (27%), parents wanting to defer (25%), parents not thinking RV was necessary (12%), and parent concerns about RV safety (6%). The most commonly reported reasons for nonreceipt of RV#1 by 4 to 5 months (often/always) were parental vaccine refusal (9%), hospitals not giving RV at discharge from nursery (7%), infants past the maximum age when discharged from neonatal intensive care unit/nursery (6%), and infant not seen before maximum age for well care visit (3%) or seen but no vaccine given (4%). Among respondents 4% strongly agreed and 25% somewhat agreed that they sometimes have difficulty giving RV#1 before the maximum age. Higher percentage of State Child Health Insurance Program/Medicaid-insured children in the practice and reporting that recommendations for timing of RV doses are too complicated were associated with reporting difficulty delivering the RV#1 by the maximum age.

Conclusions: US pediatricians identified multiple, actionable issues that may contribute to suboptimal RV immunization rates including lack of vaccination prior to leaving nurseries after prolonged stays, infants not being seen for well care visits by the maximum age, missed opportunities at visits and parents refusing/deferring.

Keywords: Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommendations; neonatal vaccination; rotavirus vaccine; vaccination delay; vaccine hesitancy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Humans
  • Immunization
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Medicaid
  • Rotavirus Infections* / prevention & control
  • Rotavirus Vaccines* / therapeutic use
  • United States
  • Vaccination


  • Rotavirus Vaccines