CDC recommends RSV immunization for infants to address leading cause of infant hospitalization
By Brian Ward
On August 3, the CDC recommended that infants under eight months old be given nirsevimab, trade name BeyfortusTM, to prevent severe respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). The treatment reduces the risk of infant hospitalizations and infant healthcare visits for RSV by 80%, according to the CDC.
“As we head into respiratory virus season this fall, it’s important to use these new tools available to help prevent severe RSV illness,” said CDC director Mandy Cohen, MD, MPH in a press release. “I encourage parents of infants to talk to their pediatricians about this new immunization and the importance of preventing severe RSV.”
The recommendation is that infants be given a single dose shot of nirsevimab born during or entering their first RSV season, which typically runs from fall to spring. The medicine is administered as an injection and was approved in July 2023 by the FDA.
“An estimated 58,000 to 80,000 children under 5 years of age, most of them infants, are hospitalized each year nationwide due to RSV infection, with some requiring oxygen, intravenous (IV) fluids, or mechanical ventilation (a machine to help with breathing). Each year, an estimated 100 to 300 children younger than 5 years of age die due to RSV,” the press release states.
“This new RSV immunization provides parents with a powerful tool to protect their children against the threat of RSV,” said Cohen. “RSV is the leading cause of hospitalizations for infants and older babies at higher risk and today we have taken an important step to make this life saving product available.”