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Merck RotaTeq May Be Contraindicated for Infants with SCID

Rotateq-logo Managing Editor's Note: Kudos to The Wall Street Journal for sharing this information about a live virus vaccine infecting a once unacknowledged population, so that American parents and physicians can make informed decisions for their infants and patients. About the last line, that RotaVirus "...causes more than 500,000 deaths from dehydration among young children world-wide, mostly in countries were vaccination isn't common." Is it lack of vaccination or lack of clean water, proper nutrition and access to medical care that leads to these deaths?

By Jennifer Corbett Dooren

Doctors said infants with a rare immune deficiency can be sickened with a gastrointestinal illness after being vaccinated with a rotavirus vaccine.
A report in this week's New England Journal of Medicine discusses the cases of three infants with severe combined immunodeficiency, or SCID, who developed dehydration and diarrhea after receiving a first or second dose of Rotateq, a vaccine made by Merck & Co.

It wasn't known at the time the babies were vaccinated that they had SCID, which is a rare immune-system disorder. Studies of the infants showed they developed rotavirus related to the vaccine and didn't get the virus from another source.

Rotateq was approved for use in the U.S. in 2006. GlaxoSmithKline PLC's competitor vaccine, Rotarix was approved in 2008.

Rotateq's label was updated last month to state that infants with severe combined immunodeficiency shouldn't receive the vaccine.

But one of the authors of the report, Stuart L. Abramson, explained that infants with SCID aren't always diagnosed with the disorder before receiving the first dose of a rotavirus vaccine, typically at two months of age.

Dr. Abramson, a doctor at Texas Children's Hospital and an associate pediatrics professor at Baylor College of Medicine, said doctors should be cautious before vaccinating infants who have recurrent, hard-to-treat infections. Such infections can suggest an infant has an immune system disorder. "We want health-care providers to be attuned to the possibility that their infant may have an immune deficiency," he said.
Rotavirus vaccines are now given to most U.S. infants to protect against rotavirus, a common gastrointestinal illness in children that can cause severe diarrhea and vomiting. Studies show the vaccines have sharply cut the rates of rotavirus in infants and toddlers.

Before the vaccines were approved, the Food and Drug Administration had estimated that up to 70,000 infants and toddlers in the U.S. were hospitalized annually for dehydration and other complications from rotavirus; about two dozen babies died.

Rotavirus is the leading cause of severe childhood diarrhea and it causes more than 500,000 deaths from dehydration among young children world-wide, mostly in countries were vaccination isn't common.

The vaccines are designed to offer protection against rotavirus for two years. After that, most children are old enough to withstand rotavirus illnesses with few complications.

Funding for the research involving the three infants was paid from grant money given by the National Institutes of Health. One of the papers authors, Mary K. Estes, also of Baylor College of Medicine, reported receiving lecture fees from Merck.


babyhawk oh snap

This sure is a very healthy way of dealing with the problem of Autism.

how many have to die

well that was a nice little public experiment that cost American babies thier lives. These things should be thoroughly investigated prior to public experimentation. shamful just shameful!


Well, the WSJ is certainly a smarter newspaper than the Chicago Tribune (which has had a couple of articles attacking biomed)

just a Mother

Merck,I hope and pray that this company stops pumping out their toxic vaccines.Breastfeeding
and clean water/improved sanitation is going to increase the health and quality of life of these children,vaccines will not.(Remember the
Gardasil and Vioxx problems.)Our family had boycotted Merck,accepting no medications or vaccines from this company.No vaccines from any company.


I am going to venture a guess that whilst the Rotateq vaccine has reduced the prevalence of diarrhoea caused (supposedly) by the rotavirus, the total number of people with gastro problems caused (supposedly) by other mechanisms has increased in an essentially one-for-one manner. This is the case with all vaccines, vaccines kill off one bacteria/virus but the disease happens anyway with another bacteria/virus (think viral meningitis instead of polio, tonsillitis instead of diphtheria, croup instead of pertussis, bacterial meningitis instead of another form of bacterial meningitis). Researchers then curse their terrible luck that despite their heroic efforts, our health never seems to improve (indeed it gets worse because the vaccines themselves aren't just useless they cause damage as well). Nonetheless, at no stage does it occur to them that their entire theory of disease - and their disastrous attempts to eradicate them - are completely misguided.


Offitt wondered about the safety of his own vaccine RotaTeq.


"difficult to impossible to predict whether or not future vaccines will cause intussuseption," Paul Offit July 2004


Jackie: My son had 3 WEEKS of profuse diarrhea after his Rotateq vaccine at 2 months. I breastfed and we stayed out of the hospital. :) Later on when he was 2 1/2 he had a stomach bug where he couldn't keep ANYthing down other than breastmilk for a solid week. Again, no need to see the ER waiting room, just stayed in touch with the ped over the phone. Mommy's milk kept him hydrated and well nourished. I agree, breast feeding is one way we can all protect our babies! It's the easiest, the most effective and cheapest, too! :D

Kathy Blanco

Binstock has told me that most of these kids have a v ariation of SCID with CVID (common variable immune deficiency), with low IgG 2 and 4, etc. Most kids have T and B cells to that of an Aids patient...so yeah....there is something whacky about the immune response in our kids, and it would behoove us to think on those lines and work from there...personally I feel that's becasue most of them harbor XMRV retrovirus's and infections before a vaccine hit them.

Thought Criminal

Two years ago I took my son to an immunologist who outright admitted that almost nothing is known about the immune system and what they think they know changes almost daily. And they can't do anything about what they think they know. So, what does an immunologist do all day - well he tried to get me to take a tetnus vaccine before I left. What a creep - vaccines are all they have and no wonder they won't let go.


Ironically, this isn't really an issue with the vaccine. It's an issue with the approach we have of giving unnecessary medical interventions to infants without the ability to determine what their state of health is beforehand.

One of my earliest doubts about the system was when I was reading the childhood vaccine contraindications trying to understand how I would detect any such problems with my 2 month old infant. Even with infants who are significantly older, it can be extremely difficult to determine their source of health issues because many ailments look the same.


Wow. Leaving Offit out of it completely, this is an incredibly important development. Here we have a record of the acknowledgement in NEJM that infants with immune system problems shouldn't get a live virus vaccine AND the acknowledgement that at two months of age you can't really assess the state of the immune system.

If we can't get this common sense point across we really need to start thinking about how we communicate and how we do PR.

Jackie P.

When my oldest was 14 months old we had a bout of the Rota Virus, when we went to see our doctor she explained that there was a huge outbreak and NONE of her patients with breastfed babies had to be hospitalized but ALL the ones that did require going to the hospital were formula fed! It lasted a few days and that was that! So there is ONE easy way to help protect your baby naturally!!!!

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