Supplies limited for some new RSV shots, CDC advises

Published: Oct. 25, 2023 at 9:36 AM CDT
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(CNN) - There are new weapons this year in the fight against respiratory syncytial virus or RSV, but healthy infants over six months of age may miss out on the new protection.

Here is what parents need to know about the warning about limited supplies of some doses of the new shot.

RSV is the leading cause of hospitalization for infants and can lead to serious lung infections and even death.

“The really jump for joy news is that this year we have not one but two products that can potentially prevent it,” said Dr. Sean O’Leary, chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Infection Diseases.

But this week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is warning that there are limited supplies of some doses of nirsevimab, which can protect infants against severe RSV.

In new guidance, the agency is recommending doctors reserve scarce doses for babies at the highest risk, those under six months of age, and infants with underlying health conditions that could put them at higher risk.

“The shortage thing was not something we anticipated because we’d been assured there’d be plenty of supply,” O’Leary said.

The CDC also recommends doctors stop using nirsevimab for babies 8 through 19 months of age, who are eligible for an older protective therapy, called palivizumab.

Palivizumab has to be given once a month through RSV season, unlike the new shot which provides six months of protection after a single dose.

O’Leary says there’s also a maternal vaccine that can help protect against this virus.

“It looks to be very safe and effective that can be given at 32 to 36 weeks gestation and we’re not hearing about particular shortages of that one,” he said.

O’Leary says the limited supply issues will hopefully be short-term.

“For this year, it is a bit of a scramble and a challenge and, honestly, it’s a bit frustrating, but we’re doing our best,” he said.

The restrictions apply primarily to the 100-milligram dose of the new shot, which is the strength used for babies who weigh 11 pounds or more and are going into their first RSV season.