Snohomish County is now 64 percent fully vaccinated, thanks to the Biden administration’s efforts to ensure vaccines to everyone regardless of income or insurance coverage. This policy should continue in a post-covid world.
Scientists are developing new products to prevent respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) in infants. RSV is a highly contagious respiratory disease and despite sending approximately 500,000 children to the emergency room annually, RSV is often dismissed as a harmless childhood illness. To distribute RSV immunizations equitably, these new products need to be part of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommended childhood immunization schedule and covered by the federal Vaccines for Children Program (VFC). There is no reason for preventative products against RSV not to be on the CDC schedule and VFC program if the science shows that they provide protection from severe disease and hospitalization just as traditional vaccines do.
As RSV is surging through our communities and making children ill, the Biden administration, particularly Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra, has the opportunity to offer all children protection from RSV, regardless of their parents’ income. If medical experts find that products to prevent RSV save lives, then they belong on the CDC’s recommended immunization schedule and the Vaccines for Children program.