Tyler physician says vaccine shortage could negatively impact RSV season

Tyler physician says vaccine shortage could negatively impact RSV season
Published: Nov. 1, 2023 at 4:04 PM CDT|Updated: Nov. 1, 2023 at 10:58 PM CDT
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TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - While RSV season is upon us, the CDC says the new preventative for babies is low in stock across the nation. They have recommended new guidelines to tighten up on what age group should receive it to make it through the season.

Nirsevimab, an antibody boosting drug to prevent RSV in babies, is now in short supply. Bill Wallace, an ER physician at Tyler Complete Care, says this is a newer preventative.

“There has been a medicine sort of like it which was a monoclonal antibody that has been available for several years, but the indications were very restrictive. And it had to be administered monthly for it to be effective, so this was sort of a game changer for RSV since it was a onetime shot,” Wallace said.

When the preventative was first announced, it was given to newborns and babies up to eight months old and older babies with chronic illnesses. Now that there is a shortage, the CDC recommended limiting it to the most vulnerable, which is babies up to six months old and older babies with chronic illnesses.

“Unfortunately, this fall there is not going to be nearly as many babies receiving this medicine as we might have hoped, but hopefully going forward it can really help,” Wallace said.

The Texas Department of State Health Services sent us a statement reading in part, “The DSHS Texas vaccines for children program contacted its partners Oct. 23 to reinforce the CDC recommendations and to encourage them to help families understand prevention strategies they can employ to help protect babies from severe RSV illness. Some of these strategies include administering the RSV vaccine (given during weeks 32 to 36 of pregnancy), and regular healthy practices like handwashing and staying home when sick.”

With these recommendations, physicians believe Texas will have enough of these preventatives to last throughout the season.

The CDC Expects additional doses to be made available every two to three weeks, and that supplies will remain limited throughout the 2023-24 fall and winter season.

KLTV 7′S Avery Niles speaks with Bill Wallace, MD a ER physician at Tyler Complete Care about the preventative vaccine shortage and what it means for RSV season