Rotavirus vaccine changes

Advisory Alert

July 17, 2018

* Cette information est seulement disponible en anglais.

To community health care providers:

Re: Rotavirus Vaccine Changes

Please be advised that Ontario will soon be switching from Rotarix® vaccine (Rot-1, manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline Inc.), to RotaTeq® vaccine (Rot-5, manufactured by Merck Canada) for the prevention of gastroenteritis caused by Rotavirus infection, in infants ˂ 32 weeks of age.

The change in vaccine product is due to competitive procurement processes administered through the Bulk Purchasing Program (BPP) that are carried out by the federal government through Public Services and Procurement Canada. Ontario and other Canadian provinces and territories have been participating in the BPP for several years.

Important changes you should be aware of are summarized below:

  • RotaTeq® vaccine is offered in a three dose series starting at 2 months of age (min. 6 weeks of age) with an interval of 4 to 10 weeks between doses.
  • The first dose of vaccine should be given before 15 weeks of age.
  • All doses should be completed before 32 weeks of age.

According to the Canadian Immunization Guide, there are no data on safety, immunogenicity, or efficacy when Rot-1 vaccine is administered as the first dose and Rot-5 vaccine is used as the second dose or vice versa. Given that the two vaccines differ in composition and schedule, the vaccine series should be completed with the same product whenever possible. If not, the infant should receive 3 doses in total of rotavirus vaccine. However, in the event that the product used for a previous dose(s) is unknown, the series should be completed with the available product.

The Ministry of Health & Long-term Care is currently in the process of finalizing its transition plan. Based on the current supply of Rotarix® vaccine remaining in Ontario, it is anticipated that the transition will occur in mid to late summer. Locally, you may expect to receive RotaTeq® vaccine in the fall of 2018.

Please continue to order rotavirus vaccine through your usual ordering process. The vaccine order form will be updated to reflect this change.

Should you have any questions, please contact the immunization program at 705.522.9200, ext. 301.

Ariella Zbar, MD, CCFP, MPH, MBA, FRCPC
Associate Medical Officer of Health and Director, Clinical Services

This item was last modified on September 13, 2018

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