Is there a vaccine for the stomach flu?

Answer: Yes, but only for rotavirus. A Norovirus vaccine is being tested.

"Stomach flu" is just a nickname for viral gastroenteritis. It is not related to influenza, the real flu. It is very difficult to make vaccines for the stomach flu because there are so many different viruses and they each work in different ways. Another problem is that even when you suffer through viral gastroenteritis you are often not immune to future attacks even by the same exact virus. Therefore, we wonder if it is even possible to make a vaccine for some of them. However, researches are very busy trying. They are studying the mechanisms by which the viruses work and they are trying to understand how immunity can be acquired. The good news is that there is a vaccine for Rotavirus called Rotateq1. It can only be given to babies up to 6 months of age. But it seems to be working very well. The numbers of rotavirus infections are decreasing faster than expected2. Researchers hope to develop a norovirus vaccine3 and I certainly wish them the best of luck. Here is an article about a norovirus vaccine that is being tested.

It is very important to clean with a product that actually kills norovirus when a stomach bug is in your home such as the Clorox® Hydrogen Peroxide Spray


--Annie Pryor, Ph.D.