Palivizumab passive immunisation against respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) in at risk pre-term infants

The provision of palivizumab passive immunisation to the existing and additional cohorts should be stopped as of the end of January 2022.

Update This guidance was originally published on 30 June 2021 and was updated on 2 February 2022.

Background 

Palivizumab is a humanised monoclonal antibody. It offers a form of passive immunisation, effectively providing short-term protection against respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and reducing the risk of serious illness, hospitalisation and death. 

In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, and in response to the atypical seasonal presentation of RSV, a UK-wide UK rapid policy statement (RPS) on palivizumab immunisation against RSV had been updated on 29 June 2021. This extended eligibility to an additional cohort of at-risk infants and allowed up to seven monthly doses. 

Palivizumab

A National Expert Group comprising relevant specialist clinicians, national clinical leads, the devolved administrations, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, and the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has reviewed the latest available data, noting a decline in RSV related hospitalisation and rates of infection, which are now below the seasonal norm. 

The unanimous recommendation of the National Expert Group is that provision of palivizumab passive immunisation to the existing and additional cohorts should be stopped as of end of January 2022.