OBJECTIVE: Preterm infants are at increased risk of severe rotavirus gastroenteritis. Although immunization with rotavirus vaccine is safe and effective, age restrictions limit the number of infants eligible for vaccination at discharge from the NICU. The objectives of this study were to assess the implementation of the rotavirus vaccine program in our NICU, recognize missed opportunities for vaccination, and document how often very low birth weight (VLBW; birth weight ≤1500 g) and extremely low birth weight (ELBW; birth weight <1000 g) infants were eligible to receive rotavirus vaccine at the time of NICU discharge. METHODS: This study reports on a prospective, observational cohort of all VLBW infants who were discharged from the NICU at Parkland Memorial Hospital from May 2008 to April 2010. Medical records were reviewed and data collected regarding the number of infants who were eligible for and received rotavirus vaccination at discharge. RESULTS: A total of 63% (135 of 213) of VLBW infants did not receive rotavirus vaccine. The reasons for not providing vaccine included the following: <42 days of age at discharge (56 of 213;26%), >84 or 104 days of age at discharge (48 of 213;23%), or missed (35 of 213;16%). The majority (75%) who were too old for vaccination at the time of discharge were ELBW. CONCLUSIONS: The current age restrictions for rotavirus immunization resulted in more than half of ELBW infants being ineligible for vaccination at the time of discharge from the NICU. Alternative strategies for rotavirus immunization in this population are needed.
- Neonatal ICU
- Preterm infant
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health