Dr. Tatiana Pervunina, Director of the Institute of Perinatology and Paediatrics of Almazov National Medical Centre, took part in the round table entitled «Current issues of RSV immunisation in children at risk» that took place at the Legislative Assembly of St. Petersburg in the Committee on Social Policy and Health Care.
The expert meeting discussed morbidity and mortality due to severe acute respiratory infections in children, prevention of the consequences of respiratory syncytial virus-associated infection, the provision of vaccines and the role of medical organisations in the development of the drug supply system. Human respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is the leading cause of lower respiratory tract infection in neonates and children. Infectious diseases rank 4th in the structure of child mortality, including infant mortality, with 7% of the total number of deaths associated with RSV.
According to clinical studies presented by Tatiana Pervunina, timely RSV immunisation significantly reduces the number of children requiring therapy. For example, vaccination reduces the number of hospitalisations by 55%, the number of days of oxygen therapy for infants under one year of age by 40% and the mortality rate by 70%.
«The most vulnerable for developing severe illness with RSV are premature babies, children with bronchopulmonary dysplasia and congenital heart disease. The virus can be particularly dangerous for babies under 3 months old at the time of infection and children with severe neuromuscular disorders. While in the Russian Federation 19% of at-risk groups have been vaccinated in 2023, in St. Petersburg the figure is lower – only 10%,» said Dr. Pervunina.
At the end of the round table, a resolution was adopted, taking into account the opinions and suggestions of the participants. The Health Committee was asked to calculate the number of children at risk, determine the volume of medical care required and the financial costs, develop and implement a comprehensive plan of action for RSV vaccination in children, develop patient routing and determine the timing of vaccination. The Government of St. Petersburg and the Legislative Assembly should consider the RSV vaccination plan for children proposed by the Health Committee and make a corresponding decision when preparing the draft law «On the Budget of St. Petersburg for 2024 and for the planning period of 2025 and 2026».