There is an astonishing shortage of an RSV vaccine for infants due to supply issues. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently released a notice stating that the long-acting monoclonal antibody immunization Beyfortus (nirsevimab) has “limited availability.”
Beyfortus is highly recommended by the CDC for preventing respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) disease in children up to 24 months old.
Sanofi, the maker of Beyfortus, explained that the “unprecedented demand” for the vaccine has exceeded their expectations, resulting in limited supply. The shortage mainly affects the 100 mg-dose prefilled syringes used for infants weighing less than 11 pounds.
Despite this supply issue, Sanofi believes they are making a significant impact in protecting infants against RSV disease. They stated that this is the first time healthcare providers can help such a large number of infants.
To manage the limited supply, the CDC recommends prioritizing the available 100 mg injections for infants at the highest risk of severe infection, especially those under 6 months old or with underlying conditions. Healthcare providers should refrain from using two 50 mg doses for infants weighing more than 11 pounds to conserve supply for lighter babies.
The CDC also suggests suspending the use of nirsevimab in children aged 8 months to 19 months who are eligible to receive the alternative immunization Synagis (palivizumab) recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
Sanofi is working closely with the CDC and their partner, AstraZeneca, to ensure the equitable distribution of available doses through the Vaccines for Children Program (VFC).
It is important that families are informed about everyday preventive measures and limit the spread of RSV and other respiratory illnesses. These measures include handwashing, covering coughs and sneezes, and staying home when symptoms occur.
RSV can have severe effects on infants, including lethargy, trouble breathing, and irritability. Other common symptoms include a runny nose, coughing, sneezing, decreased appetite, fever, and wheezing. RSV is most prevalent during the fall and winter seasons. For infants under 6 months old or those with underlying heart or lung conditions, RSV can be potentially fatal.
Although there is no specific treatment or cure for RSV, a single injection of nirsevimab can last for the entire season and reduce hospitalizations by 80%, according to the CDC. RSV infection during infancy can also increase the risk of developing asthma.
For adults seeking protection against RSV, multiple vaccine options are available, including Pfizer and GSK vaccines, as confirmed by Walgreens.
Overall, this shortage of the RSV vaccine is concerning, but efforts are being made to ensure equitable distribution and prioritize the most at-risk population. Healthcare providers and families are encouraged to follow preventive measures to limit the spread of RSV and protect vulnerable infants.