Assessing intussusceptions and rotavirus vaccine safety in Canada using administrative data

Rotavirus is a common gastrointestinal infection which can cause severe diarrhea. Rotavirus vaccines have reduced infant deaths and severe diarrhea worldwide, and have been recommended by the World Health Organization since 2009. To date, 7 of 13 Canadian provinces and territories have implemented infant rotavirus vaccination programs.  Although it has been shown that the available rotavirus vaccines have good safety profiles, some studies have found an increased risk of intussusception (a type of bowel obstruction) after the first dose of vaccine is given in certain populations.

The objective of our study is to assess whether there has been a change in the rates of intussusception among infants in Canada, in jurisdictions where the publicly-funded rotavirus vaccine programs have been introduced. To do this, we will use health administrative data from the last 10 years to compare rates of hospitalizations and emergency department visits for intussusception in infants, before and after the introduction of the RV programs and across multiple provinces. We will also determine the background rates of infant intussusception in Canada, which will allow Canadian public health officials to continue to monitor rotavirus vaccine safety.

Team Members:

  • Shelley Deeks, Project Lead, Public Health Ontario
  • Kumanan Wilson, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute
  • Eric Benchimol, CHEO Research Institute
  • Steven Hawken, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute
  • Natasha Crowcroft, Public Health Ontario
  • Sarah Wilson, Public Health Ontario
  • Laura Rosella, Public Health Ontario
  • Monika Naus, University of British Columbia
  • Scott Halperin, Dalhousie University
  • Joanne Langley, Dalhousie University
  • Carolyn Sanford, University of Prince Edward Island
  • Salah Mahmud, University of Manitoba
  • Shalini Desai, Public Health Agency of Canada