Call for widespread vaccination against RS virus

First-time babies and toddlers have protection that lasts for months. For a large vaccination program in the winter of 2024/25, doses of the drugs need to be ordered as soon as possible. Austria will not be the first.

Vaccines against RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) are available for people aged 60 and over from this winter. With Beyfortus (active ingredient: Nirsevimab), pharmaceutical company Sanofi is now bringing the vaccine to the market for infants and young children; It is already available in small quantities. However, the National Vaccination Committee has so far only recommended the vaccine for at-risk babies, mostly premature babies (under 28 weeks) and newborns with severe respiratory problems and heart defects.

The vaccine – which currently costs 1,400 euros in Austria – is administered once. It contains what are called monoclonal antibodies. These are synthetically produced antibodies that prevent the RS virus from attaching to human cells. So they can prevent infection with the virus, but primarily they protect against severe cases in the sense of hospital stays. With this passive immunization – as opposed to active immunization through a normal vaccine or disease – the immune system is bypassed by injecting antibodies.

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