The vaccine was approved for older adults and infants through maternal immunization. 

Health Canada has approved Pfizer’s Abrysvo bivalent respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) vaccine. The vaccine is indicated for the prevention of lower respiratory tract disease caused by RSV in individuals age 60 and older and the prevention of lower respiratory tract disease and severe lower respiratory tract disease caused by RSV in infants from birth through 6 months of age by active immunization of pregnant individuals.

Abrysvo is the only RSV vaccine authorized in Canada for maternal immunization.

In more vulnerable populations, like adults 60 and over, an RSV infection can be severe, especially among those with underlying respiratory or cardiac conditions. For infants, RSV infection can result in respiratory distress, especially in those less than 6 months of age, and those with higher risk factors such as congenital heart or lung disease, or prematurity.

Respiratory viruses, including RSV, increase in the fall and winter months, and the impact of RSV on healthcare resources is significant. RSV infection can result in hospitalization, particularly for infants one year or younger, for whom there is an increased risk. Older adults also have some of the highest costs associated with the disease. 

“Vaccines are considered to be the most effective tool in public health for preventing illness and can help reduce the stress on our healthcare system and professionals including nurses, doctors, and others on the frontline,” says Darine El-Chaâr, MD, maternal fetal medicine physician at The Ottawa Hospital, in a release. “Vaccines administered through maternal immunization can also help play a critical role in decreasing the gap of vulnerability in the first few months of an infant’s life, as well as helping to protect their mothers, who may be at increased risk of severe disease compared with non-pregnant women.”

Pfizer Canada is currently assessing the timeline of availability for Abrysvo, with a focus on making it available to Canadians as soon as possible, according to a release from the company.

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