SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Besides his role as the majority leader of the U.S. Senate, Charles Schumer is also a grandfather to three young children and doesn’t like to think about them getting sick.
“… and a parent should never have to hear there isn’t enough medicine to keep their kid healthy and safe. We must do more to prevent future shortages, and manufacturers need to bolster work with federal partners to optimize their supply chains to make sure families can access this essential vaccine,” the lawmaker said.
He’s referring to vaccine doses for respiratory syncytial virus infection, or RSV.
Schumer (D–N.Y.) wants the federal government and drug makers to “get all hands-on deck” to ensure doctors across New York and the U.S. have immunization doses for respiratory syncytial virus infection, or RSV.
In a letter to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA), Schumer said that with new doses being distributed, it is “imperative” that those vaccines get to pediatric clinics on the frontlines “ASAP,” his office said.
He discussed the letter at Upstate Medical University with local doctors who are facing shortages of the RSV doses. Dr. Mantosh Dewan, president of Upstate Medical University, and Dr. Seth Kronenberg, president and CEO of Crouse Health, also joined Schumer for his Jan. 29 announcement.
The majority leader said it is especially important to get these doses to pediatricians because they are the first line of defense in protecting children and most often where parents go first. Secondly, the senator said it is vital the drug manufacturers work with all levels of the federal government to ramp up supply now and fix supply chain issues, so that all those who need the vaccines are able to get them.
As an example, Syracuse Community Health (SCH) told Schumer’s office that it received 30 total doses, despite ordering hundreds of doses of the RSV vaccine over months of procurement efforts.
To date, SCH has received a delivery of just 10 doses of the 100 mg formulation, critical for many of the sickest and highest risk children.
SCH sees between 20 and 30 babies per day who are in need of the RSV immunization, but SCH’s “highly limited” supply prevents providers from immunizing all but a select few children, Dr. Ofrona Reid, interim president and CEO of SCH, told Schumer’s office.
“For over 40 years, Syracuse Community Health’s mission has been to provide high quality healthcare to our patients, particularly to those [who] are uninsured, underinsured, disadvantaged or otherwise excluded from traditional healthcare,” Reid said. “Recognizing the diverse needs of our patients and community, SCH administers healthcare through the lens of equity and social justice. That is why our protracted struggle securing the new children’s RSV immunization is so concerning.”