Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a common viral infection that causes acute respiratory tract infections in people of all ages and can cause severe illness in infants and children with certain health conditions. Approximately 58,000-80,000 children under the age of 5 and up to 3% of children in their first year of life are hospitalized due to RSV infection each year in the US. Most children will get an RSV infection before the age of 2 years, and approximately 20-30% of children infected will develop a lower respiratory tract infection, such as bronchiolitis or pneumonia. Reinfection is common and is usually less severe than the primary infection. In the US, RSV typically circulates from the fall, peaks in December or January and continues through the spring. It is transmitted by direct or close contact with those infected or from touching contaminated surfaces.
Beyfortus (nirsevimab) is a monoclonal antibody product that provides passive immunization. While not technically a “vaccine” in a traditional sense, it is being used in a manner similar to routine childhood vaccines and may be referred to as a vaccine by some entities. Beyfortus provides protection from RSV, with protection expected to last at least 5 months (the length of a typical RSV season).
Active immunity is developed due to the production of antibodies in one’s own body, while passive immunity is developed by antibodies that are produced outside and then introduced into the body. Vaccinations routinely provided to prevent diseases such as polio, measles, chickenpox, and hepatitis, provide active immunity by exposing the body to an antigen that results in the immune system producing antibodies against that disease. Beyfortus is a passive immunization that introduces antibodies to RSV by injecting them into the body.
Beyfortus is recommended for all infants younger than 8 months of age who are born during—or are entering—their first RSV season, whose mother’s DID NOT receive the Maternal RSV vaccine, Abrysvo. It is also recommended for some children age 8 through 19 months who are at increased risk for severe RSV disease and entering their second RSV season.
Because this is a new injection recently approved for use in children, your insurance company may not cover the cost of Beyfortus. If it is not covered, you will be responsible for the cost of the injection. Please contact your insurance company and see if they will cover Beyfortus before requesting it be given to you child.
This Fact Sheet from the CDC contains information to help you understand the risks and benefits of the RSV Injection
Find out more about RSV.
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