The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has endorsed the first-ever vaccine for the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) for pregnant individuals. This move aims to safeguard their newborns from severe RSV complications. RSV stands as the primary reason for hospital admissions among U.S. infants.
The newly introduced vaccine, named Pfizer’s bivalent RSVpreF vaccine and commercially known as Abrysvo™, has demonstrated a significant reduction in the risk of RSV hospitalizations for infants. The reduction rate stands at 57 percent during the initial six months post-birth.
To optimize the protective measures for newborns, the CDC advises a seasonal single-dose administration of the RSV vaccine for pregnant individuals between the 32nd and 36th weeks of their pregnancy.
This season introduces two pivotal tools to combat severe RSV illnesses in babies. Just last month, the CDC gave the green light to a novel RSV immunization for infants. This immunization has proven to curtail the risk of RSV-related hospital stays and medical visits for infants by an impressive 80 percent. It’s anticipated that most infants will require protection from either the maternal RSV vaccine or the infant immunization, but not both. However, in certain scenarios, such as a baby being born less than two weeks post maternal immunization, medical professionals might suggest the infant also undergo the infant immunization.
CDC Director Dr. Mandy Cohen expressed her views, stating, “This is another innovative tool we’re introducing this fall and winter to safeguard lives. I urge parents to consult their physicians about the best methods to defend their children against severe RSV complications, be it through a vaccine administered during pregnancy or an RSV immunization post-birth.”
Currently, the RSVpreF vaccine is accessible in select U.S. regions, with an anticipated surge in availability in the forthcoming weeks.
This year marks the inaugural fall and winter virus season where vaccines for the three dominant respiratory viruses – COVID-19, RSV, and the flu – are obtainable.
The CDC has updated its guidelines, recommending COVID-19 and flu vaccines for everyone aged 6 months and above. Additionally, the RSV vaccine is now advised for adults aged 60 and above, based on shared clinical decision-making. This suggests that these individuals should engage in discussions with their healthcare providers to determine the suitability of the RSV vaccine for them.
For comprehensive protection this fall and winter, individuals are encouraged to consult their healthcare providers, pharmacists, or local community health centers regarding the necessary vaccines.