Many parents were pleased last summer when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized a vaccine for newborns and toddlers to battle respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). This came just before the winter respiratory virus season began.
However, getting the shot is not easy.
Often, individuals who get RSV—a common respiratory virus—experience mild, cold-like symptoms and typically make a full recovery within a week or two. However, this is not the case for young children since they are more likely to have severe or even fatal symptoms from the virus.
In May, the first RSV vaccination was given the green light and was meant for the elderly.
The First Long-Lasting Shot For Infants
After a delay of two months, the first long-lasting vaccine for RSV-infected newborns (those less than eight months old) was authorized by federal authorities. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that the AstraZeneca drug Nirsevimab, marketed as Beyfortus, may significantly reduce the likelihood of severe RSV by 80 percent. Approximately five months—the duration of the typical RSV season—is covered by a single dosage.
The vaccine-like effect of the injection is short-lived; instead, it protects against RSV by introducing antibodies. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states newborns lose immunity when antibodies leave their system.
Demand for the injection has skyrocketed, and supplies are running low in the middle of the RSV season.
The CDC has released more than 77,000 more doses and will be sent to hospitals and doctors via the Vaccines for Children Program. Drug producers are collaborating with the CDC and FDA to guarantee supply until early next year.
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What Preventive Measures Can Parents Can Take?
The American Lung Association reports that certain children are at a higher risk than others. These include infants who are