GET YER BRAND NEW VAXX FOR THE COMMON COLD
RSV is straining some hospitals, and US officials are releasing more shots for newborns. RSV, or respiratory syncytial virus, is a common cause of mild cold-like symptoms such as runny nose, cough and fever.
Still, it can be dangerous for infants and older people. The CDC estimates that RSV causes 100 to 300 deaths and 58,000 to 80,000 hospitalizations each year among kids aged 4 and under. It is the No. 1 cause of hospitalizations in U.S. infants, according to the CDC.
Health officials are armed with new options to fight RSV, including a vaccine for people 60 and older and a different one for pregnant women.
Also, the CDC recommended in August that babies younger than 8 months before their first RSV season be given a new shot of lab-made antibodies.
Sold under the brand name Beyfortus, the drug was developed by AstraZeneca and Sanofi. It comes in prefilled syringes in two doses, one for smaller infants and a bigger dose for larger, heavier infants.
But demand has outpaced supply, prompting the CDC last month to ask doctors to prioritize doses for infants at highest risk of severe RSV disease.
Part of the problem: The shots’ list price is about $400 to $500 per dose and some doctors were wary of ordering many syringes until they were certain insurance programs would fully reimburse them, said Dr. James Campbell, a University of Maryland pediatric infectious diseases expert.
Some doctors ordered a lot anyway, which is why it’s been more available from some health care providers than others, he said.
On Thursday, the CDC announced that more than 77,000 additional doses of the larger sized shots would be distributed to doctors and hospitals.
Future RSV seasons may be better, said Campbell, the vice chair of an American Academy of Pediatrics committee on infectious diseases.
“Up until this year, we had nothing to prevent RSV,” he said.