Shortage of RSV Vaccines for Infants Prompts CDC Alert

Agency says Beyfortus should be reserved for infants with underlying health conditions and those who are younger than 6 months old

TUESDAY, Oct. 24, 2023 (HealthDay News) — Demand for a new shot that protects babies against respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) has outpaced supply, prompting U.S. health officials to recommend the doses be saved for high-risk infants.

In an alert posted Monday afternoon, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said nirsevimab (Beyfortus) should be reserved for infants with underlying health conditions and those younger than 6 months old.

Babies ages 8 to 19 months old should not receive Beyfortus because they are eligible for palivizumab (Synagis), CNN reported. Unlike Beyfortus, which protects babies for 6 months with a single dose, Synagis has to be given once a month through the RSV season. Beyfortus was only approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration this summer.

The medication retails for about $500 a dose, CNN reported. Some pediatricians were reluctant to stock the shots over concern about cost and how much insurance companies would reimburse them, making it harder for parents to locate Beyfortus. “Despite an aggressive supply plan built to outperform past pediatric vaccine launches, demand for this product, especially for the 100-mg doses used primarily for babies born before the RSV season, has been higher than anticipated,” one of the shot”s makers, Sanofi, said in a statement.

Doctors should not use two 50-mg doses in place of one 100-mg dose, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) advised. “Using two 50-mg doses in place of a 100-mg dose has not been studied, and is not approved or recommended,” the AAP said.

The CDC expects more doses will be available every two to three weeks, including both the 50- and 100-mg products, CNN reported. Doctors should counsel pregnant women to receive the new maternal vaccine for RSV, Abrysvo, which also protects newborns, the CDC added.

CNN Article

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