The country’s top pediatrician has warned that a delay in a new vaccine against respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) will result in more babies and toddlers needing hospital treatment this winter.
Dr. Camilla Kingdon, president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH), told The Independent she was frustrated by the delay.
“We are frustrated that we could have at least reduced the extent of the impact this winter if we had acted sooner and that we missed an opportunity here,” said Dr. Kingdon.
“One of the aspects of winter that always scares us is that we know that we will end up having to skip the list of scheduled surgical procedures because our hospitals are at capacity with all the infections that we experience in winter .
“You have to be one step ahead of the game. We are really disappointed that the program has not been rolled out in a way that will have an impact this winter because we have talked about it endlessly but there has been a delay in activating the program.”
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson told The Independent: “The NHS already offers monoclonal antibodies, which offer protection against RSV to very high-risk infants.”
“We are developing plans to deliver more comprehensive RSV programs for infants and adults in collaboration with UKHSA, NHS England and manufacturers. We will update in due course.”
A vaccine against the virus was approved for use in older adults in the UK in July. The virus caused 175,000 GP visits, 14,000 people requiring hospital treatment and 8,000 deaths in people over 60 in the UK.
The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency has approved pharmaceutical company GSK’s vaccine, known as Arexvy.
A study showed that the vaccination has high effectiveness and that the vaccine is generally well tolerated.
The vaccine was found to be 94.1% effective at stopping severe infections.
The side effects of the vaccination were “transient and mild to moderate in severity,” the researchers wrote.
The most common side effects were headache, pain at the injection site, fatigue, or joint or muscle pain.
https://www.standard.co.uk/news/health/nhs-gsk-the-independent-department-of-health-and-social-care-b1104565.html More babies will need hospital treatment because of delay in RSV vaccination, top doctor says