Interstate transfers and rotavirus vaccination of infants: practical advice

Published in NPS RADAR

Date published: About this date

Clinical content may change after this date. This information is not intended as a substitute for medical advice from a qualified health professional. Health professionals should rely on their own expertise and enquiries when providing medical advice or treatment.

The August NPS RADAR article rotavirus vaccines (Rotarix and RotaTeq) for prevention of rotavirus gastroenteritis stated that since the two rotavirus vaccines were not interchangeable, infants should complete the entire course of vaccination using the same rotavirus vaccine and that families who move to a State or Territory where a different vaccine is funded may need to bear the cost of completing their child's vaccination schedule. The National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance (NCIRS) has since confirmed that families moving from one Australian State or Territory to another will be able to access rotavirus vaccination under the National Immunisation Program (NIP) in their new State, and advised on how the schedule may be completed.

Ideally, infants who receive a first dose of either vaccine should complete the entire course of vaccination using the same rotavirus vaccine, as there are no data on the interchangeability of the 2 available rotavirus vaccines (RotaTeq and Rotarix).1,2

A full course of RotaTeq (3 doses) should be completed by 32 weeks of age3, and a full course of Rotarix (2 doses) should be completed by 24 weeks of age.4

If a family moves to a State that provides a different vaccine, the course of rotavirus vaccination may be completed as follows, provided the minimum dose intervals (4 weeks) can be maintained and the vaccine doses can be given within the recommended upper age limits:

  • If RotaTeq is given as either a first or second dose, then complete the course (up to 3 doses) using whichever rotavirus vaccine is available (RotaTeq or Rotarix).1,2
  • If Rotarix is given as a first dose and RotaTeq is given as a second dose, then complete the course (up to 3 doses) using whichever rotavirus vaccine is available (RotaTeq or Rotarix).1,2

Rotavirus vaccination of infants is free of charge under the NIP. Therefore, families do not need to pay for subsequent doses of the rotavirus vaccine provided under the NIP in their new State.

References

  1. National Health and Medical Research Council. The Australian Immunisation Handbook Draft 9th Edition. Australian Government Department of Health and Aging, 2007.
  2. National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance (NCIRS). Rotavirus vaccines for Australian children: information for GPs and immunisation providers. 2007.
  3. CSL Limited/Merck and Co Inc. RotaTeq product information 2006 03 May
  4. GlaxoSmithKline. Rotarix product information, 2007 22 February