KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – When the Centers for Disease Control announced a shortage of a new vaccine to prevent RSV in infants earlier this week, it left parents in the area with unanswered questions.
The antibody, known commercially as Beyfortus, helps prevent serious lung disease caused by RSV in infants younger than a year who are entering their first RSV season and children up to 24 months old who are entering their second RSV season.
“There has been an overwhelming acceptance for it and people are requesting it,” Dena Mashburn with the Knox County Health Department said. “Which, it’s a new vaccine, so the manufacturers are having to figure that out.”
As manufacturers work to increase supply, only certain age ranges are being prioritized for the time being.
“They’re prioritizing premature infants, those who are immunocompromised and also they lowered the age limit,” Dr. Suzanne Rybczynski with East Tennessee Children’s Hospital said. “So instead of recommending up to age 19 months, it’s now up to age eight months.”
Despite that reality, Dr. Rybczynski said that this will only benefit children long term given how effective the treatment is.
“RSV can be a devastating infection for tiny babies. It also can infect adults,” Dr. Rybczynski said. “So anything we can do to prevent that and keep babies out of the hospital is a good thing.”
For the time being, she urges parents to simply use caution around their infants.
“You want to do the usual things,” Dr. Rybczynski said. “Wash your hands, cover your cough, keep your house disinfected as much as possible and stay away from sick people.”