Rainbow Pediatrics
Fayetteville Office
1327 Robeson St.

(910) 486-5437
Fayetteville Office
341 S. McPherson
Church Rd
(910) 920-4428
Hope Mills Office
4469 S. Main St.

(910) 426-5430
Raeford Office
142 Paraclete Dr.

(910) 904-0404

RSV Vaccines and Keeping Your Family Healthy this Winter

It is RSV season in North Carolina, and at Rainbow Pediatrics, we are seeing a significant increase in children who are sick with it. RSV, or respiratory syncytial virus, is a virus that most children get at least once before their second birthday. In healthy kids, the symptoms are similar to a cold. But for some children, the virus can spiral into a lung or respiratory infection, requiring hospitalization. 

Perhaps you’ve heard about the new RSV vaccine called nirsevimab and are wondering if you should get it for your child. First, we want to state that because it is a new vaccine and in short supply, we are not yet offering it at Rainbow Pediatrics. 

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, communities that offer the vaccine are limiting it to babies who:

  • Weigh less than 11 pounds
  • Are younger than six months old and weigh more than 11 pounds
  • Identify as American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) and are younger than eight months
  • Are aged six through seven months and have an existing medical condition that places them at the highest risk for severe illness from RSV, including:
    • Prematurity
    • Chronic lung disease
    • Congenital heart disease
    • Weakened immune system
    • Cystic fibrosis
    • Neuromuscular disorders or disorders that make it hard for babies to swallow and clear mucus
  • Are eight through 19 months and, identify as AI/AN, and live in a remote region

What is the RSV Vaccine Nirsevimab?

Nirsevimab, also known as Beyfortus, is a new vaccine recommended for all infants under eight months of age born during or entering their first RSV season. The vaccine is also recommended for some children who are at an increased risk for severe RSV and are between 8 and 19 months of age. According to the CDC, the vaccine is administered in a single dose and reduces the risk of severe RSV by about 80%. 

As mentioned, nirsevimab is in short supply this year. Like with other illnesses, there are things to help prevent getting sick. 

  1. Infants are most likely protected against RSV if their mother received the RSV vaccine while pregnant. This is because the antibodies the mom receives are passed on to the baby. 
  2. If you are pregnant and your baby is due to be born during RSV season (typically fall through winter), you may get an RSV vaccine at any time between 32 and 36 weeks of pregnancy. Abrysvo is the only RSV vaccine recommended during pregnancy.
  3. Minimize exposure to crowds, people who are sick, and other public indoor spaces. 
  4. Wash your hands frequently to prevent passing the virus onto your child. 
  5. Cover your cough and sneezes.
  6. Avoid close contact with others, such as sharing cups or utensils. 
  7. Disinfect toys regularly.
  8. Stay home when you are sick, and avoid allowing your baby to be visited by (or visit) those who are sick.

The American Academy of Pediatrics also recommends palivizumab, an injection that provides antibody support against severe lung disease from RSV. It is approved for children born prematurely (at or before 35 weeks) and who are six months of age or less at the start of the RSV season.

If you have questions or concerns about your child’s health this RSV season, we are here to help. Please contact our nurse advice line or schedule an appointment with your child’s pediatric provider. Together, we can keep you and your family healthy this season.