Impact of rotavirus vaccines on gastroenteritis hospitalizations in Western Australia: A time-series analysis

Parveen Fathima, Mark A. Jones, Hannah C. Moore, Christopher C. Blyth, Robyn A. Gibbs, Thomas L. Snelling

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Background: Rotavirus vaccination was introduced into the Australian National Immunisation Program in mid-2007. We aimed to assess the impact of the rotavirus vaccination program on the burden of hospitalizations associated with all-cause acute gastroenteritis (including rotavirus gastroenteritis and non-rotavirus gastroenteritis) in the Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal population in Western Australia. 

Methods: We identified all hospital records, between July 2004 and June 2012, with a discharge diagnosis code for all-cause gastroenteritis. Age-specific hospitalization rates for rotavirus and non-rotavirus acute gastroenteritis before and after the introduction of the rotavirus vaccination program were compared. Interrupted time-series models were used to examine differences in the annual trends of all-cause gastroenteritis hospitalization between the two periods. 

Results: Between July 2004 and June 2012, there were a total of 106,974 all-cause gastroenteritis-coded hospitalizations (1,381 rotavirus-coded [15% among Aboriginal] and 105,593 non-rotavirus gastroenteritis-coded [7% among Aboriginal]). Following rotavirus vaccination introduction, significant reductions in rotavirus-coded hospitalization rates were observed in all children aged <5 years (up to 79% among non-Aboriginal and up to 66% among Aboriginal). Among adults aged ≥65 years, rotavirus-coded hospitalizations were 89% (95% confidence interval, 16–187%) higher in the rotavirus vaccination program period. The time-series analysis suggested reductions in all-cause gastroenteritis hospitalizations in the post-vaccination period among both vaccinated and unvaccinated (age-ineligible) children, with increases observed in adults aged ≥45 years. 

Conclusions: Rotavirus vaccination has been associated with a significant decline in gastroenteritis hospitalizations among children. The increase in the elderly requires further evaluation, including assessment of the cost-benefits of rotavirus vaccination in this population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)480-486
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Epidemiology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2021


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