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Health experts from El Paso County warn parents about RSV antibody injection shortage

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO)-- Medical providers across El Paso County are now warning parents about the current respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) antibody shortage.

Currently, there is a limited amount of injections that can be distributed to infants 8 months and younger in our county. There are three different methods for people to protect themselves against RSV this season, two are vaccines and one is an antibody product, that antibody injection is limited in stock. 

"Antibody works by giving you some antibody and then boom right away, instantaneously you have protection," said Dr. Bernadette Albanese, Co-Medical Director at El Paso County Public Health.

She said because it's been extremely difficult to create a vaccine for young babies that works well enough to prevent an RSV infection, experts decided to create antibodies instead of giving residents a solution for this flu season. 

However, because it is the first time this antibody is available and was rolled out to the public there is currently a shortage of the product for children younger than 8 months old. 

"So RSV is around every year and the babies do worse in their first RSV season because they are little and they have tiny respiratory muscles and they have tiny air passages in their lungs so RSV just comes in and it hits them hard," said Dr. Albanese.

Since Oct 1, Albanese said El Paso County has seen zero hospitalizations of RSV so far, however, she expects that will soon change.

"That is going to change this month in November, that is going to change in December, but right now for October it's been relativity quiet for flu and and RSV," added Albanese.

This is why she suggests people who do have minors under 8 months of old to constantly check with their medical providers to see when they can get scheduled to get the RSV antibody injection. 

"You know they are basically on a wait-and-watch in terms of when that product will increasingly get rolled out, but you have limited product that needs to go to private providers, it needs to go to health departments, it needs to go to what's called safety net clinics," said Albanese.

Albanese also suggests women who are 32 to 36 weeks pregnant get the RSV vaccine this month, to pass along those antibodies to their newborn babies. She anticipates the injection will more than likely not be available for those infants when they're born. 

Albanese adds she does not anticipate the antibody injection shortage will get resolved during this RSV and flu season.

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Andrea Herrera

Andrea is an MMJ and Anchor for Telemundo Surco and KRDO NewsChannel 13. Learn more about her here.


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