RSV vaccine shortage affecting hospitals across the U.S and Duluth

Published: Oct. 27, 2023 at 10:25 PM CDT
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DULUTH, MN. (Northern News Now) - A new RSV vaccine for young children is currently in short supply across the country and in the Northland.

Flu and RSV season are here and nurses like Jennifer Marsh from Superior Middle School is determined to keep her students safe. RSV is a respiratory virus with cold like symptoms affecting mostly young children and infants.

“Washing your hands frequently, covering your cough you know, when you feel like you have to cough to try to prevent those kinds of things,” says Marsh. Doctors agree and want to remind not just students, but everyone to wash your hands and cover your mouth when you sneeze.

Advice from health professionals can be helpful, especially after last year’s RSV cases, but doctors say it’s also important to make sure your little ones get the vaccines they need.

Sherry Johnson, a nurse practitioner at St. Luke’s Hospital in Duluth, knows how badly the virus can affect children.

“[RSV] Which is a disease that affects the lower lungs of children, primarily in infants,” said Johnson.

The vaccine comes in two dosages one for newborns and another for larger and heavier infants.

But, due to the huge demand for the vaccine, Johnson says it’s difficult to get a hold of.

“Many clinics and health care facilities are having a difficulty obtaining that 100-milligram dose,” said Johnson.

Although St. Luke’s has the vaccine for larger infants there’s still a shortage of the 100 milligrams for younger babies. Johnson still has a few words of advice for parents.

“Check with your healthcare provider just to see what the recommendations would be,” said Johnson. “If your child is a newborn I would definitely reach out and check before you leave the hospital.”

Marsh hopes this kind of advice parents will follow this season and continue to keep students and staff alike safe from illness.

“If you have a child experiencing those symptoms we want you to keep them home in order to try to prevent the spread illnesses,” says Marsh.

Doctors recommend pregnant women get the vaccine in order to protect their newborns.

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