CDC recommends new RSV vaccine for pregnant women before birth

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended the first respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) vaccine for pregnant people to protect their newborn from severe illness.

The new vaccine, Pfizer’s bivalent RSVpreF vaccine (trade name Abrysvo TM), has been shown to reduce the risk of RSV hospitalization for babies by 57% in the first six months after birth, according to the CDC.

According to the announcement, the CDC recommends a seasonal administration of one dose of the RSV vaccine for pregnant people during weeks 32 through 36 of pregnancy to maximize protection for babies after birth.

"This is another new tool we can use this fall and winter to help protect lives," said CDC Director Dr. Mandy Cohen 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."

Previously, the CDC recommended an immunization to protect infants under eight months, and for babies at increased risk of severe illness. Developed by AstraZeneca and Sanofi, that vaccine has been shown to reduce the risk of hospitalizations and healthcare visits for infants by around 80%, the CDC says.

RSV is one of the most common causes of childhood respiratory illness, and an estimated 58,000 to 80,000 children under the age of five are hospitalized annually across the country due to infection.