Kansas doctors urge pregnant women to get vaccinated for RSV

Kansas doctors are scrambling to prevent an influx of illnesses related to RSV by encouraging pregnant women to get vaccinated now. A national shortage of the immunization has many doctors concerned.


State News

November 2, 2023 - 3:08 PM

Doctors are struggling to acquire a new RSV immunization that helps protect babies from serious illness. Photo by Carlos Moreno / KCUR

WICHITA, Kansas — A national shortage of a new immunization that protects babies from severe cases of respiratory syncytial virus is worrying Kansas doctors as they try to avoid a repeat of last year’s “tripledemic” that filled hospitals with COVID-19, flu and RSV patients simultaneously.

The drug is one of several new RSV immunizations that doctors heralded as lifesaving when they were approved earlier this year. While RSV usually causes mild cold-like symptoms in healthy adults, it can cause more serious illness in young children, older adults and the immunocompromised.

The shot for infants, called nirsevimab, is not a vaccine but a monoclonal antibody shot recommended to prevent severe illness in babies under 8 months old and those who are 8-19 months old and immunocompromised. Separate vaccines were approved for adults 60 and older and pregnant women.

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