The FDA-approved, single-dose vaccine, called Abrysvo, encourages mothers to produce antibodies that are then passed on to their babies during pregnancy
Expectant mothers should receive the RSV vaccine between 32 to 36 weeks of pregnancy to protect their newborns from RSV, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday.
The CDC's advisory committee overwhelmingly supported the new RSV vaccine with an 11-1 vote, paving the way for public distribution.
“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.”
Produced by Pfizer and called Abrysvo, the FDA-approved, single-dose vaccine helps mothers produce antibodies which are then passed on to their babies through the placenta. Clinical trial results also show that Abyrsvo cuts the risk of severe RSV in infants by 91% when administered to their mothers between 32 and 36 weeks of pregnancy. And the vaccine's effectiveness remains just below 77% by the time the babies reach six months of age.
In May, an advisory panel for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration voted in favor of recommending a vaccine to protect infants from RSV. Then last month, the CDC endorsed a novel RSV vaccine for infants, which cuts the risk of RSV-related hospital stays and medical visits by 80%.
Typically, an infant would need either the maternal RSV vaccine or the infant shot – but not both. However, in cases where a baby is born less than two weeks after the mother receives her vaccination, doctors may advise the additional infant immunization for optimal protection.
RSV infections, which are the most common cause of bronchitis and pneumonia in children under the age of one in the U.S., typically occur in the fall and winter during flu season. These infections "primarily spread via respiratory droplets when a person coughs or sneezes, and through direct contact with a contaminated surface," according to the CDC.
Each year, the virus leads to nearly 80,000 hospitalizations and as many as 300 fatalities in the U.S. among this age demographic. Notably, an estimated 80% of children under the of age two who are hospitalized due to RSV have no pre-existing medical issues.
The CDC says in infants younger than six months, "RSV infection may result in symptoms of irritability, poor feeding, lethargy, and/or apnea with or without fever." Beyond managing the symptoms, there is currently no specific treatment for RSV infection.
The CDC recommends that pregnant women get the new vaccine from September through January, when RSV rates are at their highest.
Last fall, RSV cases surged across the United States, with an estimated 71% of the nation's 40,000 pediatric beds occupied, according to the Department of Health and Human Services—prompting hospitals like Connecticut Children's Medical Center in Hartford and Cook Children's Medical Center in Fort Worth, Texas, among others, to take precautions to ensure there are enough pediatric hospital beds available for children who need treatment.
For more People news, make sure to sign up for our newsletter!
Read the original article on People.