WHO recommends that all national immunization programmes include the rotavirus vaccine for infants in their vaccination schedules. The introduction of the vaccine is strongly recommended in countries where diarrhoeal deaths account for ≥ 10% of mortality among children under 5 years of age.
Rotavirus vaccination is an important measure to reduce severe rotavirus-associated diarrhoea and child mortality. The use of rotavirus vaccines should be part of a comprehensive strategy to control diarrhoeal diseases. This strategy should include improvements in hygiene and sanitation, zinc supplementation, community-based administration of oral rehydration solution and overall improvements in case management.
WHO/Europe supports middle-income countries and those eligible for support from the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI):
- to raise the awareness of immunization programme stakeholders about the disease and its vaccines;
- to improve countries’ capacity to make evidence-based decisions on the introduction of rotavirus vaccines;
- to strengthen countries’ capacity and provide tools to collect local evidence on the disease burden, circulation of rotavirus genotypes and the cost–effectiveness of vaccination; and
- to ensure implementation of a comprehensive approach to prevent and control diarrhoeal diseases.