BR doctors reporting RSV spike, hospitalizations; how they’re navigating nationwide shortage

The new RSV shot for babies that was approved three months ago is now in short supply.
Published: Nov. 3, 2023 at 6:22 AM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - If you have a baby, this is an especially important health alert for you. The new RSV shot for babies that was approved three months ago is now in short supply. RSV is a common virus that can cause a lot of inflammation in infants and lead to hospitalizations.

Health experts across the United States said they are starting to see an uptick in cases. The Baton Rouge Clinic is seeing the same trend and is projecting for it to be a rough RSV season. Hospitalizations are increasing in the Capital Region, a spokesperson said.

In July, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Beyfortus. That is a one-time injection of monoclonal antibodies developed to help reduce the severity of RSV cases in children.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told doctors that infants younger than six months who have chronic lung disease or other underlying conditions should be given priority.

A pediatrician with BRC said they anticipate having trouble getting additional supply here.

“We know that there is now a national shortage of the RSV vaccine and unfortunately it seems like the vaccines not going to last through the entire winter season if we are able to vaccinate all children,” said Dr. Mindy Calandro, a Pediatrician with the Baton Rouge Clinic. “Right now we still do have vaccines available here at the clinic and we’re still making every effort to vaccinate all kids that are in that age under eight months.”

She said the vaccine reduces the need for medical attention by about 75%.

Their goal right now is to vaccinate as many children as they can under six months of age to keep babies out of the hospital.

We also reached out to Baton Rouge General and a spokesperson said they are not experiencing any supply issues on their end.

Ochsner Health said they are currently working through the nationwide shortage of the product and they are working diligently to make sure they have the vaccine for infants.

So how do you know if you’re qualified to get this vaccine?

Dr. Calandra said because of the limited supply, they are giving the RSV vaccine to babies under six months.

They’re also giving it to those between six to eight months who have any underlying lung or health conditions.

There is also an RSV vaccine now approved for pregnant women -- they can get it between 32 weeks and 36 weeks and six days of pregnancy. Pregnant moms out there are encouraged to talk to their OB about it.

“The goal here is by vaccinating mom we’re actually going to pass on some protection to the unborn baby, so once the baby is born, they have those antibodies and RSV protection again during that first RSV season,” said Dr. Calandro. “So for mamas that can get that vaccine and the baby will not need the RSV vaccine as long as they’re born within 14 days after that vaccine was given to mom.”

If your children are sick and running a fever or have a significant runny nose and cough, she said to keep them home from daycare. Hand washing is important too.

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