The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is recommending the first respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) vaccine, Pfizer’s bivalent RSV prefusion F (RSVpreF) vaccine (Abrysvo), for pregnant people to protect their newborn from severe RSV illness.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Abrysvo last month for use at 32 through 36 weeks gestational age of pregnancy. The vaccine is administered as a single dose injection into the muscle.
The vaccine has been shown to reduce the risk of RSV hospitalization for babies by 57% in the first six months after birth. It is one of two new tools available this season to protect babies from severe RSV illness. Last month, CDC recommended a new RSV immunization for infants that has been shown to reduce the risk of both RSV-related hospitalizations and healthcare visits in infants by about 80%, according to a release from CDC.
Most infants will likely only need protection from either the maternal RSV vaccine or infant immunization, but not both, according to a release from the CDC. However, for example, if a baby is born less than two weeks after maternal immunization, then a doctor may recommend that the baby also receive the infant immunization.
“This is another new tool we can use this fall and winter to help protect lives,” says CDC director Mandy Cohen, MD, in a release. “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 available in some locations in the US, and availability is expected to increase in the coming weeks. Abrysvo was initially approved in May for the prevention of lower respiratory tract disease caused by RSV in individuals 60 years of age and older.
This is the first fall and winter virus season where vaccines are available for the three major respiratory viruses—COVID-19, RSV, and flu.
Final Vote Language
On Sept 22, members of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices voted 11-1 to recommend maternal RSV vaccine for pregnant people during 32 through 36 weeks gestation, using seasonal administration, to prevent RSV lower respiratory tract infection in infants.
They also voted to approve Pfizer’s bivalent RSVpreF vaccine for the Vaccines for Children Program (applying to pregnant people under 19 years of age).