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Rotavirus vaccines have saved nearly $1 billion

6/11/2014

USA Today
By Liz Szabo
June 9, 2014

Vaccines against a common cause of infant diarrhea have kept hundreds of thousands of children out of the hospital, saving nearly $1 billion in their first four years, a new study shows.

The study is one of three reports in today's Pediatrics that show the far-ranging impact of childhood vaccinations. The papers are being published as the USA faces its largest number of measles cases – 334 – in two decades. Current measles outbreaks are being fueled by parents who skip vaccines or avoid them altogether, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The first of the new studies focuses on rotavirus, which causes severe diarrhea and dehydration. In the first four years they were available, vaccines against rotavirus prevented more than 176,000 hospitalizations, 242,000 emergency department visits, and 1.1 million doctor's visits among children under 5, the study says. The vaccines saved an estimated $924 million during the same period, 2007 to 2011, according to the CDC study.

The CDC recommended the first rotavirus vaccine, RotaTeq, in 2006, and began recommending another version, Rotarix, after it became available in 2008.

The vaccines continue to protect children against the virus years later, with no sign that immunity weakens over time, the study says. Click here to read the full article.

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