RSV jab for infants with heart or lung disease

Infants born with types of heart or lung disease should be immunised against respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), a government advisory committee has recommended.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) said pre-term infants with Chronic Lung Disease (CLD) or Congenital Heart Disease (CHD) should be immunised using monoclonal RSV immunoglobulin palivizumab. It said there was evidence the prophylaxis was safe and cost effective in certain groups of infants.

RSV causes respiratory tract infection and can lead to bronchitis. Children born with CLD are at increased risk of contracting, and suffering complications from, the condition. RSV infection is seasonal in the UK and occurs between October and March each year.

The JCVI published a table showing when immunisation was recommended based on gestational age at birth and chronological age from birth. In this context, children are classed as having CLD if they have oxygen dependency for at least 28 days from birth.

Clinicians should also consider immunisation with Palivizumab in young children who have severe combined immunodeficiency syndrome, until immune reconstituted; and young Long Term Ventilated children.

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