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CDC recommends RSV vaccine for pregnant women to protect newborns

RSV is the number one cause of hospitalization for infants in the United States, according to the CDC.
CDC recommends RSV vaccine for pregnant women to protect newborns
Posted at 10:15 AM, Sep 23, 2023

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended the first respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) vaccine for pregnant women as an option to protect newborns against severe illness.

RSV is the leading cause of hospitalization for infants in the U.S., according to the CDC.

The new vaccine by Pfizer — known as the RSVpreF vaccine (trade name Abrysvo) — is administered in two doses. The CDC is recommending pregnant people get the first dose between 32 and 36 weeks of pregnancy. The shot has been proven to lower the risk of RSV hospitalization for babies by 57% in their first six months of life, the CDC said.

The shot delivers RSV antibodies to moms-to-be, which are then passed through the placenta to the fetus, according to The Associated Press

The RSVpreF vaccine is one of two options backed by the CDC to protect infants from the illness. In August, health officials recommended an immunization for newborns that lowered the risk of RSV hospitalizations and doctor visits by 80%. Most babies will only need one or the other for protection.

"This is another new tool we can use this fall and winter to help protect lives," CDC Director Mandy Cohen said in a press 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 can be found in some U.S. locations, with availability expanding over the coming weeks. 

RSV is a respiratory virus with cold-like symptoms that people typically recover from in one to two weeks — though it can be serious, the CDC said. Wheezing children poured into hospitals during an RSV surge last year. 

Adults and babies are at higher risk of developing severe RSV.

SEE MORE: CDC warns RSV cases are on the rise

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