NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — It was a breakthrough of sorts – a treatment meant to keep babies safe from RSV – but now in the heat of RSV season, a key vaccine is in short supply.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently sent an urgent warning about the limited availability of the RSV vaccine Beyfortus. CDC officials said it’s all due to supply issues.
“Just a reminder that this is actually a new product for this year, so this is not something that we’ve had in the past. It’s a monoclonal antibody; although most people are referring to it as a vaccine, it works a little differently,” said Dr. Elizabeth Humphreys, the executive director of the pharmacy at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt.
Staff at the hospital said the shortage is impactful to a specific group.
“Because it is such a great novel, new product, the company has just had a hard time keeping up with the production, so we are seeing shortages, particularly of the 100-milligram formulation for older children. It’s actually indicated for patients up to 19 months who would be in their second year of an RSV season who have particular high risk,” said Humphreys.
So far, the vaccine is on hand in a limited capacity at Monroe Carell while their supplies last, in line with CDC guidelines.
“The product is used in our patients who are at greatest risk. So our younger patients less than six months, the product is available, and we do have it and we’ll continue to use it until we aren’t able to obtain it anymore,” said Humphreys.
However, there are some alternative RSV vaccines that can help, like Synagis, though it’s only approved for certain high-risk patients.
As for hospitalizations, officials don’t anticipate an uptick as a result of the shortage.
“Considering the fact that we haven’t had this in the past, I wouldn’t anticipate that it would be any worse than prior years. The product that we’ve used for about 20 years or more is another vaccine or monoclonal antibody that has been utilized in patients that are high risk, and that product is still available,” said Humphreys.