As cases of RSV spike across Minnesota, vaccine for pregnant moms could be coming soon

As cases of RSV spike across the country and closer to home, new hope is on the horizon for parents looking to protect their kids. 

This week, pharmaceutical company Pfizer announced promising data from a phase three trial for an RSV vaccine designed specifically to protect newborns. 

The company plans to submit the vaccine for final approval by the end of the year. 

Minneapolis-based Allina Health took part in the vaccine trial in 2020, and Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Frank Rhame served as the lead investigator. 

"RSV is absolutely on top of us, and it's hammering pediatric hospitals," said Rhame. 

Given the current outbreak of the illness, he says a vaccine can't come soon enough. 

"What it showed was lots of efficacy at preventing hospitalizations in kids under 3 months and pretty good, like 60%, for kids under 6 months," said Rhame. 

The vaccine has been in the works for years and would be the first ever for RSV. 

The shot would be given to pregnant women in their third trimester, providing babies with critical immunity when they are born. 

"In general, it is harder to vaccinate kids under six months. We do a little bit of it, but most of it doesn't work very well until after that. The only way we can get antibodies to those babies is through the mother," said Rhame. 

If approved, Rhame says the vaccine could be available to the public late next year. 

In the midst of the current wave of RSV, Dr. Rhame advises keeping babies away from anyone with a runny nose or respiratory symptoms.