A new RSV treatment is in short supply. Here's how to keep your baby safe
Nirsevimab is in short supply but other preventative measures - including the RSV vaccine for pregnant people - could help keep your baby safe.
An injectable treatment that gives immediate protection against RSV is in short supply. This is especially concerning for parents of babies.
The new monoclonal antibody treatment is called Nirsevimab and it’s given as an injection. It reduced RSV hospitalizations and health care visits in infants by almost 80% in clinical trials.
But manufacturers can't keep up with the demand.
“This issue of a shortage we see very commonly with medications or vaccines that have just come out, and for which there's anticipated to be a large demand. Usually the initial manufacturing process is not enough to keep up,” said Dr. Juan Dumois, a pediatric infectious diseases physician at Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg.
He said whether your baby gets the injection or not, his advice is to decrease exposure risk.
"Routine advice that I like to give to families of any newborn is that your baby really does not need contact with other people for the first two months of life, other than the parents or whoever is feeding."
Dumois said infants do not need to be at the grocery store or in a restaurant. If they must be taken out of the house, they should be covered up to avoid strangers coughing near them. If an infant’s older sibling gets sick, they should be segregated, he said.
Dumois said the primary way the virus is spread is through touch, and RSV can live on surfaces for about an hour. He recommends hand sanitizer and frequent handwashing.
Pregnant people can also get the RSV vaccine (Abrysvo, Pfizer) at least two weeks before delivery, or even sooner. The benefits of the vaccine are then passed on to the baby. Dumois said doctors are encouraging this vaccine because babies whose mothers were vaccinated will not need the Nirsevimab treatment.
Right now, Nirsevimab is being prioritized for babies younger than 6 months old, premature babies, babies born with lung issues and some babies with congenital heart disease.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's prevention tips for RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) include:
- Stay home when sick.
- Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue or your shirt sleeve, not your hands.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Avoid touching your face with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with others, such as kissing, shaking hands, and sharing cups and eating utensils.
- Clean frequently touched surfaces such as doorknobs and mobile devices.
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