The American Hospital Association is reporting that expecting mothers can protect their newborns by taking the newly-approved RSV vaccine. When taken in the final weeks of pregnancy, the vaccine can protect newborns from RSV for up to six months after birth.
A CDC press release states, “To maximize protection for babies after birth, CDC recommends seasonal administration of one dose of RSV vaccine for pregnant people during weeks 32 through 36 of pregnancy.
The vaccine is one of two new tools we have 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 percent. Most infants will likely only need protection from either the maternal RSV vaccine or infant immunization, but not both. 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.”
Importance of the RSV, Covid-19, and Flu Vaccines this Winter
RSV is the leading cause of hospitalization for U.S. infants. This new vaccine, Pfizer’s bivalent RSVpreF vaccine, has been shown to reduce the risk of RSV hospitalization for babies by 57 percent in the first six months after birth, according to the CDC.
CDC Director Dr. Mandy Cohen advises, “This is another new tool we can use this fall and winter to help protect lives. 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 availability is expected to increase in the coming weeks. Updated COVID-19 and flu vaccines are recommended for everyone 6 months and older. CDC now recommends RSV vaccine for adults ages 60 and over, using shared clinical decision-making. This means these individuals should talk to their healthcare provider about whether RSV vaccination is appropriate for them at this time.