Sustained declines in age group-specific rotavirus infection and acute gastroenteritis in vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals during the five years since Rotavirus vaccine introduction in England
Gower CM., Stowe J., Andrews NJ., Dunning J., Ramsay ME., Ladhani SN.
Abstract Background The introduction of an oral live-attenuated monovalent rotavirus vaccine (Rotarix ®) into the UK infant immunisation programme in July 2013 was associated with large reductions in laboratory-confirmed rotavirus infections and hospitalisations due to acute gastroenteritis (AGE) within 12 months. Here we report the five-year impact of the programme in England. Methods Individuals with laboratory-confirmed rotavirus infections during 2000-2018 and all-cause hospitalisations for AGE during 2007-2018 were identified using national electronic records. Age-specific incidence rate ratios (IRR) and estimated numbers of cases averted in each of the five post-vaccination years were calculated. Results There were 206,389 laboratory-confirmed rotavirus infections and 3,657,651 hospitalisations for all-cause AGE. Reductions of 69-83% in laboratory-confirmed rotavirus infections in all age groups and 77-88% in infants aged <1 year in each of the five post-vaccine years are reported, with 11,386-11,633 cases averted annually. All-cause AGE hospitalisations were reduced by 12-35% across all age-groups and by 25-48% in <1 year-olds in the five post-vaccine years, with 24,474-49,278 hospitalisations averted annually. There was strong evidence of indirect (herd) protection, with at least 50% and up to 80% of the non-specific end point of all-cause gastroenteritis (AGE) hospitalisations averted being in unvaccinated age-groups, primarily older adults. Seasonal changes include a possible shift from annual to biennial peaks with lower peak incidence and longer seasons. Conclusions There were large and sustained declines in both laboratory-confirmed rotavirus infections and AGE hospitalisations across all age groups in each of the five years since the introduction of the UK rotavirus programme.