CDC recommends RSV vaccine for pregnant individuals
A CDC advisory panel has recommended the use of Pfizer’s bivalent RSVpreF respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) vaccine for pregnant people. The vaccine is designed to protect newborn babies from the respiratory disease.
CDC’s ACIP recommends the vaccine for those who are 32 to 36 weeks pregnant and are expected to give birth during the fall and winter seasons, when cases of RSV tend to rise. CDC’s director endorsed ACIP’s recommendation.
According to a CDC news release, the vaccine is one of two new tools this season to protect babies from severe RSV illness. In August, CDC recommended a new RSV immunization—AstraZeneca and Sanofi's nirsevimab (Beyfortus)—for infants. Most infants will likely only need protection from either the maternal RSV vaccine or infant immunization, but not both. However, if a baby is born less than 2 weeks after maternal immunization, then a health care provider may recommend that the baby also receive the infant immunization, the agency noted.
According to CDC, RSV is the leading cause of hospitalizations in babies, with more than 500,000 infants going to an emergency department each year and 58,000 to 80,000 children younger than age 5 requiring hospitalization annually.
FDA approved Pfizer’s vaccine for maternal use in August, but CDC had to grant approval of the drug before it could be administered. Clinical trials demonstrated that the vaccine was more than 80% effective at preventing severe RSV in babies in their first few months of life. The most frequently occurring adverse effect for the pregnant parent was pain at the injection site. There was also a small increase in the possibility of preterm births compared with those who did not receive the vaccine.
Earlier this summer, CDC recommended the RSV vaccine for adults ages 60 years and older using shared clinical decision-making.
Updated COVID-19 and flu vaccines are recommended for everyone 6 months and older.