Review of the health impact of the oral rotavirus vaccine program in children under 5 years in Australia: 2006–2021

Bianca Fleur Middleton, Margie Danchin, Parveen Fathima, Julie E. Bines, Kristine K. MacArtney, Thomas Snelling

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

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Abstract

Oral rotavirus vaccines were incorporated into the National Immunisation Program (NIP) for all Australian infants in July 2007. Initially each of the eight jurisdictions implemented Rotarix or RotaTeq rotavirus vaccine, however from July 2017 all states and territories have administered Rotarix only. This review evaluates the health impact of the oral rotavirus vaccine program for Australian children less than 5 years old over the first 15 years of the rotavirus vaccine program, observing long-term changes in rotavirus-related health care attendances, public health notifications, and vaccine effectiveness and safety data for both Rotarix and RotaTeq rotavirus vaccines. We searched Medline for studies published between January 2006 and May 2022 using the search terms 'rotavirus', 'rotavirus vaccine' and 'Australia'. Of 491 items identified, 76 items - 36 peer-reviewed articles and 40 reports - were included in the review. We found evidence that the introduction of the oral rotavirus vaccine program in Australia was associated with a prompt reduction in rotavirus-coded and all-cause gastroenteritis hospitalisations of vaccine-eligible children. In the context of less complete coverage, reduced vaccine timeliness and lower vaccine effectiveness, a less substantial and inconsistent reduction in severe rotavirus disease was observed among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, particularly those living in rural and remote northern Australia. Additional studies report no evidence for the emergence of non-vaccine serotypes and/ or replacement serotypes in Australia during the vaccine era. While the health impact for young children and consequent cost-savings of the oral rotavirus vaccine program have been high, it is important to find strategies to improve rotavirus vaccine impact for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations to ensure health benefits for all Australian children.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)636-648
Number of pages13
JournalVaccine
Volume41
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 16 Jan 2023

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