The respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) season is in full swing, and physicians are hoping that this year’s new vaccine to protect young children from the virus will reduce the number of cases. Some paediatricians, though, are having trouble procuring supplies. The Beyfortus antibody injection, manufactured by AstraZeneca and Sanofi, has received CDC and FDA approval to prevent respiratory syncytial virus in infants from birth to 8 months of age or in children up to 24 months of age with significant risk factors.
The most common reason for hospital admissions for children under the age of one is respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). Paediatricians were hopeful that the medication could help reduce instances following a record year in 2022, according to Dr. Lauren Fitzpatrick, medical director of the paediatric unit at Luminis Health Anne Arundel Medical Centre.
“We thought that this was groundbreaking, that this could be our game-changer, that we could potentially really reduce the risk of patients being admitted for respiratory syncytial virus (RSV),” she stated to CBS News. “I think there was our hopes, and then there was our reality,”
“There was not an infrastructure in place to roll out this vaccine, or monoclonal antibodies, so even though we have families that are requesting it, we can’t meet their demands.”
Currently, the cost, which is close to $500 each dose, is a significant problem. Although most insurance plans should pay the injection, healthcare providers must acquire supplies before learning how much they will be reimbursed. Fitzpatrick stated, “As paediatricians, we’re angry.” We appear to have a potential opportunity.
Additionally, Fitzpatrick is a mother and is aware of the significance of this shot. When she was nine months old, her youngest child, who is now five, had respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).
She remarked, “It was a very difficult period. “I don’t want this to be a money-related discussion. This is how my child lives. But for many insurance firms, it’s a matter of dollars and cents.
The American Academy of Paediatrics urged federal decision-makers to ensure that the vaccine could be distributed freely and fairly in a letter addressed to the CDC and the Centres for Medicare and Medicaid Services earlier this summer. Paediatricians will be paid for educating families about the medication in addition to prescribing it, according to a recent CDC announcement. Fitzpatrick adds that she would also like to see insurance providers be more specific about how they will pay for the pricey shot.
“These are small practises that don’t have that type of capital to invest,” she said. “If there were some type of plan in place that the insurance companies could work with the practises to either expedite their reimbursement or provide some funding ahead of time, that would be helpful.”
According to a statement sent to CBS News by a Sanofi spokesperson, the company is providing “extended payment terms for Beyfortus to providers who purchase directly from Sanofi.” This is because it understands that payers may take some time to repay users.
“What this means is that providers can order and receive Beyfortus to administer right away for the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) season, but they don’t have to pay back Sanofi until practically the end of RSV season,” the release stated.
In December, the height of the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) season, Molly Fleenor, who is expecting her second kid, says she hopes the confusion will be cleared up by then. It shouldn’t be a guessing game, according to Fleenor. “It should be pretty black-and-white and should be accessible and available to as many people as possible, if not everybody.” In order to protect her unborn child, Fleenor will also be qualified to receive the new RSV vaccine for pregnant women in the third trimester.
Doctors advise either giving the mother the shot or giving the baby the immunisation. Although Fleenor is still debating between the two, she is certain that she wants the security.
She said, “RSV can be very frightening.” “It can take a turn really quickly and make children really sick.”
The American Academy of Paediatrics advises that all newborns whose mothers did not receive the maternal immunisation, especially those who are at high risk for respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), receive the new preventative antibody.