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Kansas City-area parents anxiously wait for RSV drug amid national shortage

Rachel Long
Posted at 4:46 PM, Nov 02, 2023
and last updated 2023-11-03 12:59:26-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Midwest is at the beginning of the respiratory syncytial virus Infection season.

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Doctors at Children’s Mercy said they’ve started to see some cases over the last few weeks.

A newly approved RSV antibody drug for infants gave some parents a feeling of security for their newborn.

However, a shortage of the drug left new parents protecting their babies in other ways while they wait for a larger supply.

“We’re washing our hands. We’re using hand sanitizer; anyone who holds her also uses hand sanitizer or washes their hands first,” said Rachel Long, a Kansas City-area mother. “We’re trying to be really diligent on that.”

Children’s Mercy and other hospitals throughout the country said they are prioritizing high risk babies for immunizations at the recommendation of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Doctors are reserving the doses for kids who were born premature or have congestive heart disease or chronic lung disease, according to Dr. Angela Myers, Children’s Mercy Infectious Disease director.

“Unfortunately, a generally healthy full-term baby that gets born is less likely to receive that Nirsevimab this season,” Myers said.

Before this season, there was not an antibody drug for healthy infants to protect them against RSV.

Myers said despite the shortage, this is a life-changing drug for babies and their families.

“It’s not that we won’t see them, but I think we will see much less severe disease, which is amazing for families," she said. "It’s amazing for the baby. It’s a really great thing all around.”

There’s still a possibility babies like Parker will get a dose later in the season as the manufacturer catches up to demand.

Myers said the doses, like the Flu vaccines, are effective even in the middle of the virus season.