NIGERIA – The Federal government of Nigeria has introduced Rotavirus vaccines into the national immunization schedule in a bid to significantly decrease the incidence and morbidity associated with rotavirus infections.

The rotavirus vaccine introduction was announced during this year’s commemoration of the African Vaccination Week that underscores the importance of immunization in saving lives and to encourage families to vaccinate their children against deadly diseases.

The Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Faisal Shuaib said that the rotavirus vaccine introduction into existing routine immunization has the potential to avert over 110,000 deaths in 10 years.

He said that the Rotavirus vaccine is free, safe and effective at preventing diarrheal disease caused by the Rotavirus while urging parents, caregivers and legal guardians to take their eligible children for vaccination.

He revealed that the Rotavirus vaccine is going to be given orally and administered concurrently with the existing routine immunization vaccines at six weeks, 10 weeks and 14 weeks respectively, adding that the vaccine will be integrated with other diarrheal preventive strategies.

WHO reiterates that the use of rotavirus vaccines should be part of a comprehensive strategy to control diarrhoeal diseases with the scaling up of both prevention and treatment packages.

World Health Organization (WHO)


The Rotavirus vaccine will be integrated with diarrheal preventive strategies including exclusive breastfeeding in the first six months of life, Vitamin A supplementation, handwashing, sanitation and other key household practices.

Other comprehensive approaches to case management for complex cases involves the use of zinc- ORS to prevent dehydration, continued feeding and treatment services for diarrhea and other childhood diseases.

Faisal Shuaib cautioned that Rotavirus is the most frequent cause of severe diarrhea and the virus accounts for about 215,000 of the global 525,000 under-5 mortalities attributed to diarrheal diseases each year.

He explained that Rotavirus is responsible for over 40 per cent of diarrhea in children while noting Nigeria has the second highest number of deaths from the virus, accounting for 14% of all childhood rotavirus deaths worldwide.

The Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency further said that annually, approximately 50,000 deaths occur in children under 5 years in Nigeria as a result of rotavirus infection.

Mr Faisal Shuaib pointed out that Rotavirus vaccines for routine immunization in Nigeria will help reduce the fatalities from diarrhea caused by the virus, noting that the development is a big investment due to its substantial economic impact and the number of lives that the country is going to save.

Furthermore, Faisal Shuaib called upon parents and caregivers to take their eligible children to the nearest Primary Health Care Centre for the Rotavirus vaccine and other routine vaccines that are in the system until their children are fully vaccinated.

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