Respiratory Syncytial Virus: Babies

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 22nd March 2021.

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Photo of Greg Smith Greg Smith Conservative, Buckingham

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Government is taking to prevent cases of respiratory syncytial virus in infants.

Photo of Jo Churchill Jo Churchill The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

The Government has measures in place to prevent cases of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) in the most vulnerable infants. Babies born prematurely are particularly vulnerable to RSV.

Each winter the National Health Service treats the most vulnerable infants with Palivizumab. Palivizumab provides passive immunity to RSV, similar to the protection offered by a vaccination. During the last RSV season, October 2020-Feburary 2021, NHS England and NHS Improvement produced a rapid policy statement that extended the criteria to include a larger population of at-risk infants with the aim of decreasing hospitalisation and intensive care admission rates in such infants.

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