ASA Monitor December 2023, Vol. 87, 18.
Protection against RSV illness for infants
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended the first-ever respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) vaccine for pregnant individuals to protect newborns from severe RSV illness. RSV is a leading cause of infant hospitalization in the United States. The vaccine, Pfizer’s bivalent RSVpreF vaccine (Abrysvo), has demonstrated a 57% reduction in the risk of RSV hospitalization for babies during the first six months after birth. To maximize protection for newborns, the CDC recommends administering one dose of the RSV vaccine to pregnant individuals between weeks 32-36 of pregnancy. The vaccine adds to the tools available to protect babies from severe RSV illness, including the maternal RSV vaccine and an RSV immunization for infants, which was recommended by the CDC in August. Most infants will likely need protection from only one of these options, but in some situations, such as when a baby is born less than two weeks after maternal immunization, both vaccines may be beneficial and recommended by a practitioner. Additionally, the RSV vaccine is now recommended for adults aged 60 and over, and updated COVID-19 and flu vaccines are recommended for everyone aged six months and older.