“Bronchiolitis is the thing that scares all parents of babies under one year old. When it happens to your child, it’s anguish. If there is a vaccine, we have to go for it.” Wally, father of a two-year-old boy, looks rather favorably on the new protection against bronchiolitis which has just arrived on the market.
After having been approved by the High Authority for Health, this vaccine, marketed under the name Beyfortus by the Sanofi and AstraZeneca laboratories, has now been offered since September 15 in all maternity hospitals. It concerns all babies born after February 6, 2023, i.e. after the last wave of this lung disease, and is injected by an injection in the thigh.
Wally's baby only had a little bronchiolitis last winter. But other parents were less lucky. The wave of this lung disease had caused the hospitalization of 35,000 babies - including 2,500 in critical care. “Last week, the pediatrician immediately told us about this vaccine,” explains Camille, 31, whose little Suzanne is just a month and a half old. “We will see if it is compatible with all the other compulsory vaccines, because it will perhaps do a lot, but when I remember last winter, the saturated pediatric emergencies, many parents in panic... Friends at We had their little one who had bronchiolitis and it wasn't easy,” recalls the young mother.
The same goes for Alice, 31, who says she “trusts” this product. “If we find a safe way to protect my child and relieve emergency services, I’m not going to say no.” Especially since 30% of babies contracting bronchiolitis develop more or less long-term after-effects, in the form of difficulty breathing or asthma, which can extend into adulthood.
Elisabeth is more wary. Her little Joseph, born prematurely, contracted bronchiolitis twice during his first six months of life. “It was stressful, but we went through antibiotics, Ventolin, and he got better. I believe in creating immune defenses,” says the young mother. She thus refuses to allow him to be a “guinea pig” of science, especially since the injection is only temporarily effective, lasting “at least 5 months”, indicated the manufacturer.
Bénédicte also remains on her guard. Her pediatrician “insisted a lot”, speaking to her several times in recent weeks about this announced vaccine, to protect her 6-month-old baby. “She still reminded me that it was not obligatory,” says the mother, who was surprised to be called the same day Beyfortus was marketed by the secretary of her former pediatrician. “I don’t know if you know, there is a new vaccine for bronchiolitis. If you are interested, the doctor has made a prescription, you can come and get it,” he was told on the phone. Because Beyfortus can only be prescribed and delivered on medical prescription, and only doctors and nurses are authorized to administer it.
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“We can say that they are very encouraging in their way of doing things, even though it is not obligatory for me to know, and that he has just arrived,” notes the young Parisian executive. In the case of Beyfortus, the injection, which is not very painful, can cause temporary local redness or fever, but no serious adverse effects have been reported in the trials. If Bénédicte's husband, who is a doctor, is completely confident, she herself has always felt a certain distrust of vaccines.
The Minister of Health, Aurélien Rousseau, declared that the deployment of the bronchiolitis vaccine constituted “one of the major challenges of the start of the school year”. But to make her decision, Bénédicte gives herself until the start of winter to find out, by consulting scientific studies or asking the opinion of experts around her. And she will advise.