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What Parents Should Know About the Infant RSV Shot Shortage

A highly-anticipated RSV shot for infants is available for the first time this year, but the rollout isn’t going as smoothly as parents and doctors would hope. Due to “unprecedented demand” for the vaccine, the manufacturer has stopped taking new orders for certain doses of the shot, and now doctors are receiving updated recommendations from the CDC to reflect the short supply.

The CDC is now recommending that doctors reserve the available doses for higher-risk infants, which includes infants under 6 months and those with underlying conditions. The new recommendations apply to 100-milligram doses of the shot, called nirsevimab or Beyfortus, which were originally recommended for all babies under 8 months who were entering their first RSV season and weighed 11 pounds or more.

Now, the CDC recommends saving those 100-mg doses for infants who weigh 11 pounds or more and are younger than 6 months; American Indian or Alaska Native infants who are 8 months old or younger; or infants between 6 and 8 months who are at higher risk of severe RSV due to premature birth, chronic lung disease, being immunocompromised, or other pre-existing conditions.

Infants weighing less than 11 pounds should still receive 50-mg doses of nirsevimab, the CDC adds, and doctors should avoid administering two 50-mg doses for infants who weigh more than 11 pounds in order to preserve supply. In addition, the American Academy of Pediatrics noted in a statement to CNN that “using two 50 mg doses in place of a 100 mg dose has not been studied and is not approved or recommended.”

The drop in supply has come as a surprise to doctors. “We knew there were going to be many barriers to implementation of nirsevimab that we were anticipating, and pediatricians have been working hard to overcome those barriers, but we were assured by the manufacturer that supply would not be one of the barriers,” said Sean T. O’Leary, M.D., chair of the AAP Committee on Infectious Diseases, in AAP article.

In a statement, Beyfortus manufacturers Sanofi, which worked in partnership with AstraZeneca to produce the shot, said that the companies are working to “accelerate additional supply and explore a number of actions to extend the manufacturing network.”

“Despite an aggressive supply plan built to outperform past pediatric vaccine launches, demand for this product, especially for the 100 mg doses used primarily for babies born before the RSV season, has been higher than anticipated,” Sanofi said in the statement.

In the meantime, the CDC recommends that children between 8-19 months of age who are eligible for an older protective therapy, palivizumab, stop receiving Beyfortus. Palivizumab (also called Synagis) must be received every month, unlike Beyfortus, which provides 6 months of protection.

The CDC notes that these are “interim recommendations” that are subject to change as new information and supply become available. The agency says it will continue to “work with the manufacturer to understand how it may accelerate nirsevimab supply.”

It’s unclear how long experts expect the shortage to last, so if you haven’t yet gotten the shot for your child, now is a good time to call your doctor and check on availability.

Before you go, shop our favorite natural products to relieve your child’s cold:


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