On July 23 and 24, the ROTA Council, along with its core partners the International Vaccine Access Center at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, PATH, the Sabin Vaccine Institute and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, gathered a group of rotavirus technical experts and public health officials, leading research and advocacy organizations, funders and vaccine manufacturers for “The Rotavirus Vaccination & Intussusception Workshop: Science, Surveillance & Safety.”

The event, held in Washington, DC, and funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, was an important step in helping the global health community understand the benefits and risks of rotavirus vaccines, which offer the best protection against rotavirus and the deadly diarrhea that it causes.

Intussusception is a bowel blockage, which in extremely rare cases is associated with rotavirus vaccines. For every 100,000 children vaccinated, there are an estimated 1-6 extra cases of intussusception. However, numerous studies have demonstrated that the benefits of the vaccine outweigh the risk. Despite this, the lack of understanding about the benefits and risks of rotavirus vaccines can delay introduction of these live-saving vaccines, causing hundreds of thousands of preventable deaths and hospitalizations among young children.

At the workshop, the technical experts in attendance reviewed and evaluated the current evidence on intussusception and rotavirus vaccines, identified and prioritized remaining gaps in the research, discussed challenges and opportunities around new vaccines coming to market or currently in clinical trials, and documented the scientific consensus on best practices for monitoring and communicating the potential risk of intussusception after the introduction of rotavirus vaccines. The meeting outcomes will be published in a peer-reviewed journal and provide a current, reliable source of the latest evidence and scientific consensus on rotavirus vaccine safety and intussusception.