On September 22, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended the first respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) vaccine for pregnant people to protect their newborn from severe RSV illness. RSV is the leading cause of hospitalization for U.S. infants. This new vaccine, Pfizer’s bivalent RSVpreF vaccine (trade name Abrysvo), has been shown to reduce the risk of RSV hospitalization for babies by 57% in the first six months after birth.

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%. 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.

“This is another new tool we can use this fall and winter to help protect lives,” said CDC Director Dr. Mandy Cohen. “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 is available in some locations in the U.S. and availability is expected to increase in the coming weeks.

This is the first fall and winter virus season where vaccines are available for the three major respiratory viruses –COVID-19, RSV and flu.

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.

Talk to your healthcare provider, pharmacist, or local community health center about which vaccines you need to stay protected this fall and winter.

Final Vote Language

On September 22, 2023, members of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) voted, 11-1, to recommend maternal RSV vaccine for pregnant people during 32 through 36 weeks gestation, using seasonal administration, to prevent RSV lower respiratory tract infection in infants. They also voted to approve Pfizer’s bivalent RSVpreF vaccine for the Vaccines for Children Program (applying to pregnant people under 19 years of age).

This news release was published by the CDC on September 22, 2023.