Key Takeaways

  • The CDC recommended a maternal RSV vaccine for people who are 32 to 36 weeks pregnant during the fall and winter, when RSV cases peak.
  • The vaccine, Abrysvo, reduces the risk of healthcare visits for infants younger than six months old by 76.5%.
  • Another RSV antibody shot called Beyfortus is also available for infants under eight months.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended Pfizer’s new vaccine to help protect infants against lower-respiratory tract disease caused by respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).

The vaccine, called Abrysvo, is given to pregnant mothers so that the antibodies can transfer to their newborns and protect them against RSV.

Last month, the CDC recommended an RSV antibody shot called Beyfortus, which is given directly to infants. Beyfortus can cut RSV-related hospitalizations and healthcare visits in infants by about 80%. In comparison, Abrysvo reduces the risk of healthcare visits for infants younger than six months old by 76.5%.

“This is another new tool we can use this fall and winter to help protect lives,” CDC Director Mandy Cohen said in a statement. “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.”

Most Children Only Need One RSV Vaccination

Most infants will not need both Abrysvo and Beyfortus.

Abrysvo is recommended for people who are between 32 and 36 weeks pregnant in the fall and winter, when RSV cases peak.

It likely takes at least 14 days after vaccination for the mother to produce the antibodies and transfer them to the fetus. If an infant is born within two weeks of vaccination, they should get Beyfortus, the CDC said.

Beyfortus can also be given to babies under eight months old, whose mother didn’t or couldn’t get the Abyrsvo vaccine while pregnant.

Protection from maternal vaccination may start to wane after three or more months. The CDC decided to recommend administration only during the fall and winter, rather than year-round, because babies born outside of the RSV season would likely need Beyfortus to boost their protection.

In rare cases, including when a mother has an inadequate immune response to the vaccine or the infant loses maternal antibodies after heart surgery, infants that were born to vaccinated mothers may still need to take the monoclonal antibody.

There is a slight potential risk of preterm birth in vaccinated mothers, but the majority of the working group said the undesirable effects are small.

A New Tool to Prevent a “Tripledemic”

Two-thirds of infants are infected with RSV in the first year of life and each year there are about 80,000 RSV-related hospitalizations in kids younger than five years. Nearly 80% of kids younger than two years who are hospitalized with the disease have no underlying medical conditions.

This is the first year when vaccines are available for all three major respiratory viruses—COVID-19, RSV, and flu. Vaccinating vulnerable groups against all three could prevent a repeat of the “tripledemic” U.S. hospitals faced last year.

The CDC said that the RSV vaccine can be administered at the same time as other vaccinations that a woman is due for. Pregnant people may be eligible to get the RSV, Tdap, COVID-19, and influenza vaccines in the same visit.

There are also two RSV vaccines available to adults older than 60 years old, a group that is also vulnerable to severe illness and death due to RSV.

What This Means For You

Abrysvo is already available in some parts of the U.S. and the CDC said it expects the availability to increase in the coming weeks. Flu vaccines and the updated COVID-19 vaccines are now available to everyone six months and older.


By admin

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *