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Population-level impact of Ontario’s infant rotavirus immunization program: evidence of direct and indirect effects


Objective — To evaluate the direct and indirect population impact of rotavirus (RV) immunization on hospitalizations and emergency department (ED) visits for acute gastroenteritis (AGE) in Ontario before and after the publicly-funded RV immunization program.

Methods — Administrative data was used to identify ED visits and hospitalizations for all Ontarians using ICD-10 codes. We used two outcome definitions: RV-specific AGE (RV-AGE) and codes representing RV-, other viral and cause unspecified AGE (“overall AGE”). The pre-program and public program periods were August 1, 2005 to July 31, 2011; and August 1, 2011 to March 31, 2013, respectively. A negative binominal regression model that included the effect of time was used to calculate rates and rate ratios (RRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for RV-AGE and overall AGE between periods, after adjusting for age, seasonality and secular trends. Analyses were conducted for all ages combined and age stratified.

Results — Relative to the pre-program period, the adjusted RRs for RV-AGE and overall AGE hospitalizations in the public program period were 0.29 (95%CI: 0.22-0.39) and 0.68 (95%CI: 0.62-0.75), respectively. Significant reductions in RV-AGE hospitalizations were noted overall and for the following age bands: < 12 months, 12-23 months, 24-35 months, 3-4 years, and 5-19 years. Significant declines in overall AGE hospitalizations were observed across all age bands, including older adults >= 65 years (RR 0.80, 95% CI: 0.72-0.90). The program was associated with adjusted RRs of 0.32 (95% CI: 0.20-0.52) for RV-AGE ED visits and 0.90 (95% CI: 0.85-0.96) for overall AGE ED visits.

Conclusions — This large, population-based study provides evidence of the impact of RV vaccine in preventing hospitalizations and ED visits for RV-AGE and overall AGE, including herd effects.



Wilson SE, Rosella LC, Wang J, Le Saux N, Crowcroft NS, Harris T, Bolotin S, Deeks SL. PLoS One. 2016; 11(5):e0154340. Epub 2016 May 11.

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