First RSV Emergency Declared as Pfizer and GSK Race to Get Vaccines Approved


    by Megan Redshaw, Childrens Health Defense:

    Southern California’s Orange County Health Department this month declared a local health emergency over concerns around the rising number of pediatric cases of Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) amid news Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline are close to seeking approval for new RSV vaccines.

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    Southern California’s Orange County Health Department this month declared a local health emergency over concerns around the rising number of pediatric cases of Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV).

    County officials also declared a Proclamation of Local Emergency, allowing them to access state and federal resources in response to the spread of RSV.

    The news came amid media warnings of a looming “tripledemic” of RSV, influenza and COVID-19 and news that Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) are close to securing regulatory approval for their RSV vaccine candidates — including Pfizer’s RSV vaccine for pregnant women.

    RSV was first identified in 1956, and frequently affects children, with a majority of childhood cases occurring before age 2. For most children, symptoms are similar to those of the common cold, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

    It can, however, cause serious symptoms in the very young and the elderly, although childhood deaths are infrequent, according to CDC data.

    According to California attorney Rita Barnett-Rose, there’s no evidence to support claims that Orange County hospitals are overextended, or to justify a state of emergency.

    In an interview with The Defender, Barnett-Rose drew parallels between Orange County’s emergency declaration for RSV and other state, local and federal emergency declarations for COVID-19:

    “One of the other alarming things that happened with COVID is when [Gov. Gavin] Newsom declared the state of emergency in COVID. He also waived the 30 and 60-day review periods for all local governing boards.

    “So, yeah, so that’s what everyone is concerned about, this perpetual state of emergency.

    “And the other thing that it triggers is it asks, once they declare a state of emergency, aside from getting the funding, it also triggers a request to Governor Newsom to declare a statewide state of emergency and then also to have Newsom ask President Biden to declare a national state of emergency.”

    That could lead to Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) of RSV vaccines, according to Barnett-Rose, who told The Defender there may be an avenue to challenge the legality of the latest Orange County emergency declaration.

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