Recent US studies have identified a small increased risk of intussusception after rotavirus vaccination, mainly after the first dose. We examined trends in intussusception hospitalizations before (2000–2005) and after (2007–2013) rotavirus vaccine introduction to assess whether this observed temporal risk translates into more hospitalized cases at the population level.
Intussusception hospitalizations in children <12 months of age were abstracted from the State Inpatient Database maintained by the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project for 26 states that provided data from 2000 to 2013. Rates were calculated using bridged-race postcensal population estimates. Trends were analyzed by age groups (6–14 weeks, 15–24 weeks, and 25–34 weeks) based on the recommended ages for vaccine administration as well as 8–11 weeks when the majority of first doses are given. Rate ratios were calculated by using Poisson regression.
No consistent change in intussusception hospitalization rates was observed among all children <12 months of age and among children 15 to 24 weeks and 25 to 34 weeks of age. The intussusception hospitalization rate for children aged 8 to 11 weeks was significantly elevated by 46% to 101% (range: 16.7–22.9 per 100 000) in all postvaccine years except 2011 and 2013 compared with the prevaccine baseline (11.7 per 100 000).
The increase in the intussusception hospitalization rate in children 8 to 11 weeks when the majority of first doses of vaccine are given is consistent with recent US postlicensure studies. Given the magnitude of declines in rotavirus disease compared with this small increase in intussusception, the benefits of rotavirus vaccination outweigh the increase risk of intussusception.