Now, however, the AAP’s revised guidelines tie providers’ hands by limiting palivizumab access to only preterm infants born before 29 weeks. Insurance companies across the country have adopted these guidelines, pricing families out of RSV protection by eliminating reimbursement for treatment.
This policy shuts out the majority of preterm babies born in the United States every year. But it affects black babies in particular. Black babies are more likely than white babies to be born prematurely. And they are more likely to encounter the risk factors associated with RSV, such as low rates of breastfeeding, crowded living conditions, and contact with school-aged siblings and environmental pollutants.
Without access to preventative RSV treatment, black babies face these risks unprotected. As a result, too many will also face RSV.
To address the impending risks faced by black babies, the NMA held a landmark consensus panel on RSV. The panel included the nation’s leading experts on pediatric care, particularly among African Americans. And it summarized its findings in a peer-reviewed consensus panel report, which advocated several responses to AAP’s restrictive guidelines. Its priority recommendations includes calling for the AAP’s Committee on Infectious Diseases (COID) to provide data supporting the dosing it now recommends.