What is RSV and why all the fuss?
RSV causes respiratory infections in people of all ages, but it is most common in babies 2 months to 8 months old. It can cause severe illness in infants and toddlers with certain health conditions. RSV is the leading cause of pneumonia, bronchiolitis (inflammation in the lungs), and hospitalizations in babies.
RSV is typically the most prevalent every year between the months of October and March. Outbreaks in schools and daycares are common as the virus spreads through coughs and sneezes. In fact, nearly all children are infected with it by the time they turn 2 years old. In most cases, RSV looks like any other cold (fever, runny nose, and cough), and typically resolves within a couple of weeks. However, it can sometimes progress and become more severe, leading to respiratory distress or inability for baby to feed.
Unlike the Flu, there is no medication to treat RSV once you have it. This is why prevention is so important!
What is Beyfortus (Nirsevimab) and how does it work?
Beyfortus is a preventive antibody treatment that helps protects babies against RSV throughout the duration of a RSV season. It is administered in a single shot for any infants and children up to 8 months of age by the start of RSV season (October 1st). Although it is a shot, it is not a vaccine. Instead, it is a preventative treatment that offers passive immunity- the antibodies provide immediate and short-term protection- about 5 months (long enough to get through RSV season). It does not prevent all infections, but is intended to protect against severe complications and hospitalizations. Previously, the only prevention against RSV was an antibody drug called Synagis, which had to be administered monthly for 5 months and was only available to the highest risk babies.
Please note, if a baby’s birth mother received the RSV vaccine (different than Beyfortus) at least 14 days prior to delivery, the newborn will receive antibodies from the mother and does not need Beyfortus.
How can my child get Beyfortus (Nirsevimab)?
We will be offering Beyfortus (Nirsevimab). Newborns will be offered it at their newborn well visit and infants who are younger than 8 months of age as of October 1st will be offered it at their upcoming well visit appointment. Some toddlers (8 months through 24 months of age) who are at increased risk of severe RSV may also qualify for Beyfortus. Your child’s provider will let you know if it is appropriate for your toddler. It is safe to be given at the same time as other vaccines. For the best protection, Beyfortus should be administered as close to the start of RSV season as possible.