CDC Issues RSV Vaccination Alert Because of Drug Shortage

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Oct. 24, 2023 -- A limited supply of a drug to protect infants from the respiratory disease RSV has led the CDC to issue a health alert.

Officials are advising pediatricians to use certain doses of nirsevimab, a monoclonal antibody sold by the brand name Beyfortus, for infants with the greatest danger of developing severe respiratory syncytial virus.

Cases of RSV have been rising in parts of the country at the start of cold and flu season.

“The shortage is pretty disheartening,” said Scott Roberts, MD, of Yale School of Medicine in The Washington Post. “I had hoped we learned lessons from COVID, where we foresee these challenges [because] it seems like this was a preventable shortage where we they should have anticipated the demand.”

Drug maker Sanofi told the Post it is trying to speed up supply with its manufacturing partner, AstraZeneca.

RSV is highly contagious and mostly hits the respiratory system, especially in older people, young kids, and people with weakened immune systems. 

The FDA OK’d Beyfortus in July for infants. It is a single shot and can be given to children younger than 8 months and up to 24 months most at risk for a severe RSV infection, the Post reported.

It comes in doses of 50 and 100 milligrams, depending on age and weight of the child. The CDC left the 50-milligram recommendations the same.

“But to ration the 100-milligram doses, the CDC advises suspending administration of nirsevimab to infants between 8 and 19 months unless they fall into certain categories the agency deems most vulnerable,” the paper said.