Why get immunised against rotavirus?

Rotavirus is a very contagious disease that can cause severe and life-threatening diarrhoea.

Vaccination is a safe and effective way to protect you from rotavirus.

By getting vaccinated against rotavirus, you can also help protect other people, especially people who are unable to be vaccinated. The more people who are vaccinated in your community, the less likely the disease will spread.

Who should get immunised against rotavirus?

Rotavirus immunisation is recommended for:

  • children aged two months and four months if they get the brand Rotarix, for free under the National Immunisation Program (NIP)
  • children aged two months, four months and six months if they get the brand RotaTeq.

The age limits for rotavirus vaccines are very strict. If your child misses a dose or is late in getting their vaccine, they might not be able to be immunised.

Older children and adults should not get a rotavirus vaccine.

Where can you get a rotavirus immunisation?

Rotavirus immunisations are available in each Australian state and territory.

See Where can I get immunised? for information.

How do you get immunised against rotavirus?

Rotavirus vaccines are oral vaccines, not needles. The vaccine is a small amount of liquid in a tube that your doctor will  squeeze onto the inside of your baby’s mouth.

Rotavirus vaccines include:

Your doctor can tell you which vaccine they will use for your child’s rotavirus immunisation.

Do I need to pay for rotavirus immunisation?

Vaccines covered by the NIP are free for people who are eligible. See the NIP Schedule to find out which vaccines you or your family are eligible to receive.

Eligible people get the vaccine for free, but your health care provider (for example, your doctor) may charge a consultation fee for the visit. You can check this when you make your appointment.

If you are not eligible for free vaccine, you may need to pay for it. The cost depends on the type of vaccine, the formula and where you buy it from. Your immunisation provider can give you more information.

What are the possible side effects of rotavirus immunisation?

All medicines and vaccines can have side effects. Sometimes they are serious, most of the time they’re not.

For most people, the chance of having a serious side effect from a vaccine is much lower than the chance of serious harm if you caught the disease.

Talk to your doctor about possible side effects of rotavirus vaccines, or if your child has possible side effects that worry you.

Rotavirus vaccines do not usually have any side effects.

A very rare side effect of rotavirus vaccine is called intussusception. This is when part of the bowel slides into another part of the bowel like a telescope. This can block the bowel. If intussusception happens, it is usually between one and seven days after getting a rotavirus vaccine. Your doctor will tell you what symptoms to look out for so it can be treated. Intussusception can also happen for other reasons that are not related to immunisation. 

The Consumer Medicine Information links in How do you get immunised against rotavirus? list the side effects of each vaccine.

More information


If you need advice or more information about immunisation, go to our Immunisation contacts page.

Last updated: 
11 December 2017