The nonprofit National Coalition for Infant Health today released a new position paper, “Monoclonal Antibodies’ Inclusion in the Vaccines for Children Program.” The paper outlines how new interventions, which are monoclonal antibodies, currently under development for the prevention of respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, can offer life-saving protection for infants and children, but only with timely and equitable access. The paper calls for including these vaccine-like monoclonal antibodies in the Vaccines for Children program, which provides free child vaccines to families who cannot afford them.
Preventive monoclonal antibodies are considered vaccine-like because they protect against disease by providing the body’s immune system with readily available, protective antibodies. Without medical interventions, it is difficult to prevent RSV and decrease the burden of the disease.
As outlined in the paper, the National Coalition for Infant Health encourages the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices to include these preventive monoclonal antibodies, once approved, on the Vaccines for Children program’s list of pediatric vaccines. Inclusion will ensure timely and equitable access for all infants and children. Because of their similarities to vaccines, vaccine-like interventions meet the program’s requirements.
By including these vaccine-like interventions on the Vaccines for Children pediatric vaccine list, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices will demonstrate its commitment to “prevention and control of communicable diseases” and support for innovative, life-saving interventions for all infants.
- RSV is a highly contagious seasonal virus (October-April) that most children get before age two
- RSV is the leading cause of hospitalization in children under age one
- Infants younger than one are 16 times more likely to be hospitalized for RSV than for the flu
- RSV accounts for 500,000 hospitalizations each year
- One is seven infants receive medical attention for a lower respiratory tract infection during RSV season
Some infants and children experience only minor cold-like symptoms, but for others, RSV can cause bronchiolitis, pneumonia and respiratory distress, leading to hospitalization and mechanical ventilation. Some babies do not survive, while others survive with chronic respiratory issues that follow them into adulthood.
The National Coalition for Infant Health is a collaborative of over 200 professional, clinical, community health, and family support organizations focused on improving the lives of infants and their families through education and advocacy.
SOURCE National Coalition for Infant Health