CAPITAL REGION, N.Y. (NEWS10) — A new shot to protect babies against RSV was approved earlier this year, and doctors were hopeful it would be rolled out in time for the virus’ season. Supply, however, is limited.
“I don’t think we’ve peaked, at least in our area, for RSV,” said Dr. Harry Miller, Founding Pediatrician at Four Seasons Pediatrics in Clifton Park, “I think it’s still coming.”
Rates of RSV cases in New York State have gone up by about five percent in the past month, according to CDC data. However, case numbers are lower than they were at this time last year.
Dr. Miller was excited when the CDC recommended a new drug to protect the infant population from what can be a deadly virus. Then, came obstacles.
“The rug got pulled from us because, all of a sudden, after meeting and hearing we’re going to get the products, guess what? There’s not enough of it. You’re only going to get a very small amount, and you won’t be able to order more,“ Dr. Miller said.
Dr. Miller explained the arduous process that went into getting insurance companies to confirm whether or not they’d cover the shot, and then communicating with families about the anticipated availability.
“You’re just under $500 a dose, and you have to buy at least five doses. Now, pharmacies, we are used to managing inventory. That’s how we make a living,” explained Assemblyman and pharmacist John McDonald, “physicians’ office, not so much.”
The blame for the slow rollout, according to McDonald, isn’t on those who gave the monoclonal antibody shot the green light.
“The CDC waited to make sure they were comfortable,” McDonald said, “and therefore, I think there should be some comfort in the fact that they were deliberative in their process.”
The problem with availability is being traced to the manufacturer, Sanofi.
Part of a statement from a spokesperson for the pharmaceutical company reads, “despite an aggressive supply plan built to outperform past pediatric immunization launches, demand for this product, in both the 50 and 100 mg doses, has been higher than anticipated.”
For any parents who are concerned about getting this shot for their baby, Dr. Miller recommends you continue to call and follow up with their pediatrician to find out when they are expecting to receive doses of the shot.
At the end of October the CDC issued a health alert recommending that, amid the short supply of the shot, clinicians prioritize certain infants, including infants younger than 6 months, those with high-risk health conditions, and American Indian and Alaskan native infants.