School is back and the germs are too! In addition to hand washing and staying home when you are sick, there are additional steps that we can take to stay a little healthier this coming cold and flu season.
RSV PROTECTION FOR INFANTS:
You have likely heard something about the development of a new product to prevent infection from Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV). RSV is a huge burden for young infants and children causing 58,000 to 80,000 hospitalizations and 100 to 300 deaths per year in children under 5 years. 20-30% of children infected will develop a lower respiratory tract infection, such as bronchiolitis or pneumonia, and even those children who do not require hospitalization have a long duration of illness without effective treatments beyond time and supportive care. Historically, the only tool that we had to prevent RSV was a monoclonal antibody called palivizumab or Synagis, which is only available for certain high-risk infants and young children. Additionally, Synagis is very short acting and requires 5 monthly doses for infants to provide protection through RSV season which typically runs October-March. A new product Nirsevimab, also known by its brand name Beyfortus, was approved by the FDA in July for all infants under 8 months in their first RSV season as well as certain higher risk infants in their second RSV season. The good news about this latest passive RSV immunization, is that along with excellent safety and effectiveness in preventing severe illness, it is long lasting and only requires one dose to provide protection through the RSV season. We anticipate having Nirsevimab to offer infants in the office sometime soon. The wait at this point is related to ensuring that all insurance providers have agreed to pay for the injection, and the AAP is working hard to ensure that this injection is available for all infants. We will update families when it is on hand to administer at our office. Ask your provider if you have questions about this recommendation for your infant or want to learn more!
The FDA has approved updated COVID vaccines that better target the currently circulating strains, and just this week the ACIP (The CDC Advisory Committee of Immunization Practices) has voted to recommend that everyone ages 6 month and older get the updated vaccine as a booster. Younger patients who are just starting their immunization series, would finish with the updated vaccine if they have had 1 so far. Once the recommendations get signed off, we expect to have vaccines within the next week or 2. Please send us a portal message if you are interested in getting a COVID booster for your child when available!