CDC recommends Pfizer’s maternal RSV vaccine to protect newborns

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Article
Contemporary OB/GYN JournalVol 68 No 10
Volume 68
Issue 10

Ahead of the first fall and winter virus seasons in which vaccines are available for COVID-19, influenza, and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is recommending Pfizer’s maternal vaccine to protect newborns from severe RSV illness.

CDC recommends Pfizer’s maternal RSV vaccine to protect newborns | Image Credit: © JHVEPhoto - © JHVEPhoto - stock.adobe.com.

CDC recommends Pfizer’s maternal RSV vaccine to protect newborns | Image Credit: © JHVEPhoto - © JHVEPhoto - stock.adobe.com.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended Pfizer’s maternal vaccine RSVpreF vaccine (Abrysvo) to protect newborns from severe respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) illness, according to a press release. Approved by the FDA in August 2023, the vaccine has been shown to reduce the risk of RSV hospitalization by 57% for infants in the first 6 months after birth.1

Takeaways

  • CDC recommends Pfizer's RSVpreF vaccine for newborn protection, reducing hospitalization risk by 57%.
  • Seasonal administration of the vaccine for pregnant individuals during weeks 32-36 of pregnancy.
  • Nirsevimab (Beyfortus) monoclonal antibody reduces infant hospitalizations and healthcare visits by about 80%.
  • RSVpreF vaccine for pregnant women is a significant advancement in infant RSV protection.
  • This fall and winter, vaccines are available for RSV, COVID-19, and influenza, offering multiple options for respiratory virus protection.

The CDC recommends seasonal administration of 1 dose of the vaccine for pregnant people during weeks 32 through 36 of pregnancy. The RSVpreF bivalent vaccine is the first vaccine for use in pregnant individuals to prevent lower respiratory tract disease (LRTD) and severe LRTD because of RSV in infants.1,2

Recently, the CDC recommended another new tool to protect infants from RSV, Sanofi and AstraZeneca’s nirsevimab (Beyfortus). Nirsevimab, a monoclonal antibody for infants (administered as a single intramuscular injection prior to or during RSV season), has been shown to reduce hospitalizations and health care visits in infants by approximately 80%, according to the CDC. The CDC states most infants will “likely only need protection from either the maternal RSV vacation or infant immunization, but not both.” For babies born less than 2 weeks after maternal immunization, doctors may recommend the infant receive the infant immunization.1,3

“We know that RSV is the leading cause of LRTD in infants and we know that the peak of disease is usually within the first 3 months of life,” said Tina Tan, MD, FAAP, FIDSA, FPIDS, professor of pediatrics, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, pediatric infectious disease attending, Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, in an August 2023 interview with Contemporary Pediatrics®. “Having this vaccine licensed for use in pregnant women is absolutely wonderful.”2

“This is another new tool we can use this fall and winter to help protect lives,” said Mandy Cohen, MD, MPH, director, CDC. “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.”1

The CDC states Pfizer’s RSVpreF vaccine is available in “some locations” in the United States, and that an increase in availability is expected in the coming weeks. The national health agency recently updated influenza recommendations as well, noting that this is the first fall and winter virus season in which vaccines are available for RSV, COVID-19, and influenza—3 of the major respiratory viruses.1

This article was published by our sister publication Contemporary Pediatrics.

References:

  1. CDC recommends new vaccine to help protect babies against severe respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) illness after birth. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Press release. September 22, 2023. Accessed September 25, 2023. https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2023/p0922-RSV-maternal-vaccine.html
  2. Fitch J. FDA approves Pfizer’s maternal vaccine to prevent RSV in infants. Contemporary Pediatrics. August 21, 2023. Accessed September 25, 2023. https://www.contemporarypediatrics.com/view/fda-approves-pfizer-s-maternal-vaccine-to-prevent-rsv-in-infants
  3. Fitch J. Nirsevimab-alip FDA approved to prevent RSV in neonates, infants. Contemporary Pediatrics. July 17, 2023. Accessed September 25, 2023. https://www.contemporarypediatrics.com/view/nirsevimab-alip-fda-approved-to-prevent-rsv-in-neonates-infants
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