In a recent development, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended the use of the first respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) vaccine for pregnant individuals as a means to protect their newborns from severe RSV illness. RSV is currently the leading cause of hospitalization for infants in the United States. The new vaccine, known as Pfizer's bivalent RSVpreF vaccine under the trade name Abrysvo™, has been proven to reduce the risk of RSV-related hospitalizations in babies by 57 percent within the first six months after birth.
To ensure the maximum protection of newborns, the CDC advises administering a single dose of the RSV vaccine for pregnant individuals during weeks 32 through 36 of their pregnancy.
This vaccine now presents one of two vital tools to protect infants from severe RSV illness during the upcoming season. In a recent recommendation by the CDC, a new RSV immunization for infants has been introduced, with an 80 percent reduction in the risk of RSV-related hospitalizations and healthcare visits in infants. In most cases, either the maternal RSV vaccine or the infant immunization is expected to be sufficient for protection. However, if a baby is born within two weeks after the maternal immunization, a healthcare provider may suggest that the infant also receive the immunization.
Dr. Mandy Cohen, the Director of the CDC, stated, "This is another new tool we can use this fall and winter to help protect lives. I encourage parents to talk to their doctors about how to protect their little ones against serious RSV illness, using either a vaccine given during pregnancy or an RSV immunization given to your baby after birth."
The RSVpreF vaccine is currently available in select locations across the United States, with expectations of increased availability in the coming weeks.
This fall and winter will mark the first season in which vaccines are accessible for the three major respiratory viruses: COVID-19, RSV, and the flu. Updated COVID-19 and flu vaccines are recommended for everyone aged 6 months and older. Additionally, the CDC now suggests RSV vaccination for adults aged 60 and over, using shared clinical decision-making. This entails consulting with healthcare providers to determine if RSV vaccination is appropriate for individuals in this age group at this time.
The CDC advises all individuals to consult with their healthcare providers, pharmacists, or local community health centers regarding the vaccines needed for protection during the forthcoming fall and winter seasons.