Emergency: CDC warns of wrong RSV shots administered to pregnant people and children – Urgent concerns over vaccine errors

Visual Representation for vaccine against RSV | Credits: Getty Images
Visual Representation for vaccine against RSV | Credits: Getty Images

United States: The United States has grappled with the threat of respiratory illnesses, especially RSV, and vaccine administration is one of the suggested precautionary measures by health authorities. However, recently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an emergency alert about the wrong administration of RSV shots to a small number of pregnant people and young children.

As per the alert published by the health agency, as of January 17, approximately 128 pregnant people received the wrong RSV shot as well as 25 children aged under 2 received the jabs which were approved for adult use.

The number of vaccine errors is alarming, and in this regard, the CDC noted that the errors are “relative to an estimated 1 million infants protected from RSV either through infant receipt of nirsevimab or through vaccination of pregnant people,” according to Medical News Today.

It is to be noted that health experts have warned that RSV is a risk for young children, pregnant people, and the elderly population. In mild infections, people recover within seven to 14 days, but in severe cases, the infection might become serious, causing difficulty in breathing and can even lead to hospitalization.

What are the reasons behind the wrong RSV shot?

Health experts have underlined that “lack of clarity around the three different RSV immunizations” is a major reason behind the administration of wrong RSV shots.

Representation for vaccine against RSV | Credits: Getty Images

In this regard, a certified pediatrician at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, CA – Dr Daniel Ganjian, told Medical News Today, “New vaccines and treatments can sometimes lead to confusion, especially in busy healthcare settings.”

Ganijan has further emphasized that there is the possibility that similar names of RSV shots – Arexvy and Abrysvo, could have contributed to the confusion.

In addition to this, board-certified OB-GYN at The Women’s Hospital at MemorialCare Saddleback Medical Center in Laguna Hills, CA, Dr Patricia Faraz, highlighted that the clinics must have a proper system in place to avoid such mistakes.

“Medications for OB patients should not be stored in the same refrigerator as non-OB patients to reduce errors as staff members may not be familiar with these new vaccines, and they are named similarly,” Dr Faraz mentioned, according to Medical News Today, while suggesting.

Is the wrong RSV shot a matter of concern?

While elaborating on the after-effects of a wrong RSV shot, Dr Ganjian highlighted that an individual must notify a healthcare team or VAERS – if a wrong vaccine is received. The health expert also asked the patients and guardians to contact their pediatricians to “review your child’s records and confirm if they received the correct vaccine. If not, they will advise you on the next steps.”

What are the signs of adverse reactions to wrong vaccines?

The two RSV vaccines and the monoclonal antibody treatment designed for young children cannot be swapped out interchangeably. It is crucial to use each specifically for the high-risk groups they are authorized for.

Although there have been no reported serious adverse events resulting from this vaccine mistake, any unusual symptoms experienced after vaccination should be promptly communicated to your doctor.

In addition to this, symptoms of the adverse reactions were also briefed by Dr Ganjian, which are:

  • Allergic Reactions,
  • Fever, and
  • Redness or swelling at the injection site.