Pentavalent rotavirus vaccine (RV5) was introduced into the Israeli National Immunization Program in January 2011. We determined RV5 vaccine effectiveness (VE) in southern Israel, a region characterized by 2 distinct populations: Bedouins living in a low- to middle-income, semirural setting, and Jews living in a high-income, urban setting.
We enrolled vaccine-eligible children who visited the emergency department (ED) or were hospitalized due to acute gastroenteritis (AGE) during the first 3 rotavirus seasons after RV5 vaccine introduction (2011-2013). Fecal specimens were tested for rotavirus by enzyme immunoassay and genotyped. Vaccination among laboratory-confirmed rotavirus cases was compared with rotavirus-negative AGE controls. Regression models were used to calculate VE estimates by age, clinical setting, and ethnicity.
Of 515 enrolled patients, 359 (70%) were Bedouin. Overall, 185 (36%) patients were rotavirus positive; 79 of 119 (66%) were G1P genotype. The adjusted VE for a full 3-dose course of RV5 against ED visit or hospitalization was 63% (95% confidence interval [CI], 38%-78%). RV5 provided G1P genotype-specific effectiveness of 78% (95% CI, 58%-88%). By age, RV5 VE was 64% (95% CI, 21%-84%) and 71% (95% CI, 39%-86%) among children aged 6-11 months and 12-23 months, respectively. By clinical setting, RV5 VE was 59% (95% CI, 23%-78%) against hospitalization, and 67% (95% CI, 11%-88%) against ED visit. The adjusted VE of a full RV5 course among Bedouin children was 62% (95% CI, 29%-79%).
RV5 significantly protected against rotavirus-associated ED visits and hospitalizations in a diverse population of vaccine-eligible children living in southern Israel.