EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WLAX/WEUX) – As we get closer to flu and respiratory illness season, the CDC is changing recommendations on some of its drugs targeting RSV. First News at Nine’s Kim Leadholm tells us which ones are affected and what that means.
Each year, many children get sick with RSV; a respiratory infection usually causing cold-like symptoms. Dr. Thomas Boyce, pediatric infectious disease physician, explains, “It is the most common cause of hospitalization in infants in the first year of life. So it’s very common results in about 150,000 hospitalizations in young children in the U.S. each year.”
Last year, there was a spike in cases nationwide. Dr. Boyce says, “We had a bad year for RSV last year, partly because it kind of disappeared during the height of COVID. And whether that’s because of competition between the viruses or because of the masking and the other social distancing measures that we were using to battle COVID.”
This year, there are new options available to help prevent RSV. One of them is the antibody shot for young children. It’s a drug that’s in high demand.
in August, the CDC did recommend this antibody immunization for infants and young children to prevent against RSV. Public Health Nurse, Christina Writz, says, “If a child was entering their first RSV season and they were eight months or younger, they were everyone was recommended to receive that. And then those eight months through 19 months entering their second RSV season were recommended to receive an additional dose if they had certain underlying health conditions.”
Recently, the CDC changed some of those recommendations to combat the drug shortage. Writz says, “The CDC recommends that providers prioritize vaccinating in infants that are six months and under, as well as some 6 to 8 months with underlying health conditions.”
Now the change in recommendations is only affecting that RSV antibody shot targeting those younger kids. The RSV vaccine for individuals 60 years and older has not changed recommendations.
The RSV Vaccine for pregnant women is also not affected. As we near that flu season, health professionals are recommending families speak with their doctors about treatment options going forward. Especially with some limited supply.
In Eau Claire, Kim Leadholm, First News at Nine
That RSV Vaccine for pregnant women is available for people 32 to 36 weeks pregnant during the RSV season.