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CDC responds to RSV antibody injection shortage

UCI Health expert agrees with recommendation for infants under 6 months to receive shot first

November 02, 2023

IN THE NEWS: Nirsevimab, a new antibody injection for infants against severe respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), was hailed in July when it was approved by the Federal Drug Administration. Pediatricians and parents, however, have had trouble accessing the shot, which is sold under the brand name Beyfortus.

New York Times rectangular logo with white lettering on black background.The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had originally recommended it for infants younger than 8 months of age. Due to demand, it issued an alert for physicians to prioritize infants under 6 months of age to receive the protection.

UCI Health pediatrician Dr. Coleen Cunningham told The New York Times that the recommendation to prioritize younger infants makes sense, given the supply restrictions.

“The vast majority of the severe illness and hospitalization is in kids in the first six months of life. Yes, there’s still plenty of kids getting sick beyond six months, but they’re much less likely to become seriously ill.”

Cunningham, a nationally regarded expert in pediatric infectious diseases who also serves as senior vice president and pediatrician-in-chief for Children's Health of Orange County (CHOC). She is also chair of the Department of Pediatrics at the UCI School of Medicine. Cunningham is leading the development of a nasal-drop RSV vaccine for children 6 to 24 months of age.

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