Sustained low rotavirus activity and hospitalisation rates in the post-vaccination era in Belgium, 2007 to 2014
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
, p. 19-30
University of Antwerp
In 2006, Belgium was the first country in the European Union to recommend rotavirus vaccination in the routine infant vaccination schedule and rapidly achieved high vaccine uptake (86-89% in 2007). We used regional and national data sources up to 7 years post-vaccination to study the impact of vaccination on laboratory-confirmed rotavirus cases and rotavirus-related hospitalisations and deaths. We showed that (i) from 2007 until 2013, vaccination coverage remained at 79-88% for a complete course, (ii) in children 0-2 years, rotavirus cases decreased by 79% (95% confidence intervals (CI): 68-89%) in 2008-2014 compared to the pre-vaccination period (1999-2006) and by 50% (95% CI: 14-82%) in the age group >= 10 years, (iii) hospitalisations for rotavirus gastroenteritis decreased by 87% (95% CI: 84-90%) in 2008-2012 compared to the pre-vaccination period (2002-2006), (iv) median age of rotavirus cases increased from 12 months to 17 months and (v) the rotavirus seasonal peak was reduced and delayed in all post-vaccination years. The substantial decline in rotavirus gastroenteritis requiring hospitalisations and in rotavirus activity following introduction of rotavirus vaccination is sustained over time and more pronounced in the target age group, but with evidence of herd immunity.