HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM)- RSV is a virus that generally causes cold-like symptoms but it can be dangerous for babies and certain adults. Doctors are hoping a new shot for infants will prevent the virus from becoming serious, but the shots may be hard to find.
“Specifically babies under a year of age, they can get a pretty severe illness, so it’s the
number one admission to hospitals in that age group,” Chief Medical Officer of Primary Care at WellSpan Health Dr. Mark Geodecker said.
There’s a new tool to prevent RSV in babies from birth to 8 months. A monoclonal antibody shot called Nirsevimab was approved by the CDC in August.
“The antibodies are in the shot and those are the antibodies that help if the virus gets into the infant’s system, those antibodies will bind to it, attack it, “said Dr. Goedecker.
Although the shot was approved by the CDC in August, some parents may have trouble finding it.
WellSpan Health says it already placed an order for the shots and expects to get them next week.
“There are shortages and I think we’ll hear more about that as it comes, so we don’t know exactly how much we’re going to get,” said Dr. Goedecker.
Dr. Goedecker says when the shipment comes in, they’ll be ready to roll it out, starting with the most vulnerable babies.
“Those are the babies that might have been born prematurely, have heart or lung disease,” said Dr. Goedecker. “We see all of our infants after they’re discharged from the hospital at one to two days after they’re discharged and we’re going to be giving the shot at that visit.”
PennState Health Children’s Hospital ordered the shots and expects to get a shipment soon. UPMC says it doesn’t have the shots in stock yet.
“We have a group that’s looking into it,” Pediatric Clinical Pharmacist Specialist at UPMC Dr. Lindsey Stramara said. “It’s not readily available right now just because it’s so new on the market and a lot of sites are really excited about it, including ours but I’m hoping within the year, next year, we might have it available.”
The American Lung Association says parents should be on the lookout for warning signs like trouble breathing and dehydration.
“If they start using their accessory chest wall muscles and their little chest starts moving up and down trying to get a good deep breath in,” national medical spokesperson for the American Lung Association Dr. Juanita Mora said.