In yet another example of vaccines saving lives, the numbers are out on the recently introduced rotavirus vaccine Rotarix, and they're excellent.
The vaccine was introduced in the US in 2006 and by 2009-2010 hospitalizations for the severe gastrointestinal virus were reduced by 94% in children under 5 years old, according to the US Center for Disease Control.
With the US having the most costly health care system in the world, any reasonable savings is a big win, and
The drop in hospitalizations and emergency room visits for rotavirus also had an impact on U.S. health care costs. During 2007 to 2011, rotavirus vaccination reduced diarrhea-related health care visits by 1.5 million visits, for a savings of $924 million, Leshem's group found.
There is a risk of intestinal intussusception with the vaccine, quoted in this article as between 1 in 20000 and 1 in 100000 (though when my baby was vaccinated I was told, I believe, 1 in 30000), however this is substantially lower than the risk of intussusception that comes with actually having rotavirus.
This is excellent news. Rotavirus is the number one cause of severe diarrhea (excellent article, by the way) in under fives by diarrhea in the world, and diarrhea is one of the main causes of death, according to the WHO.