CDC to Release Infants' RSV Shots to Help Ease Shortage
By Dennis Thompson HealthDay Reporter | Copyright © 2023 HealthDay. All rights reserved.
THURSDAY, Nov. 16, 2023 -- To address a continuing nationwide shortage, more than 77,000 doses of RSV shots for infants were released Thursday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
The additional doses are of Beyfortus, a long-acting monoclonal antibody designed to protect infants too young for vaccination against RSV.
They will be distributed immediately to doctors and hospitals through the federal Vaccines for Children Program and commercial channels, the agencies said.
“CDC and FDA are committed to expanding access to this important immunization so that more parents have peace of mind during the winter virus season,” CDC Principal Deputy Director Dr. Nirav Shah said in an agency news release.
The CDC has also taken steps to make the shots more accessible for doctors to order through the Vaccines for Children program, which provides vaccines to half of America’s children.
The CDC and FDA both said they will continue to be in close contact with manufacturers to clear the way for more doses of Beyfortus through the end of the year and into early 2024.
Shortages of Beyfortus -- which is for children younger than 8 months whose moms didn’t get the adult RSV vaccine -- have been plaguing the United States this cold and flu season.
This is the first RSV season the drug has been available, and demand has far exceeded supply, drug maker Sanofi said late last month.
In October, the CDC recommended that Beyfortus (nirsevimab) be prioritized for infants at the highest risk for severe RSV infection.
These included infants younger than 6 months and infants with underlying medical conditions that place them at higher risk of severe infection, including premature birth, lung disease, heart disease, immunocompromised conditions and severe cystic fibrosis.
Kelly Bocskor, a mother of two, told CBS News she’s been trying to get the RSV shot for a few months now.
"RSV is just a really bad virus for babies, especially young babies," said Bocskor, who lives in Severn, Md. "They are recommending it for babies under 8 months, and my daughter, she just turned 5 months a couple of days ago."
"Nobody I have talked to has gotten access to this [shot]," Bocskor added. "At this point, it's like a figment of the imagination. Nobody has had access to it."
There is another RSV shot available, called Synagis (palivizumab), and the American Academy of Pediatrics has recommended that children between 8 months and 19 months receive that shot instead.
Synagis must be given once a month during RSV season, so it is not as convenient to get as the Beyfortus shot.
Officials and doctors are also encouraging pregnant women to get the recently approved RSV vaccine, because their immunity will help protect their newborns. The adult vaccine is still available for pregnant mothers.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on RSV protection for infants and toddlers.
SOURCE: U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, news release, Nov. 16, 2023; CBS News