FDA approves RSV vaccine during pregnancy

Recent vaccine approval provides new way to protect infants at birth.

Two feminine-presenting people look at an ultrasound while smiling.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently approved the vaccine Abrysvo for immediate use in pregnant people. This is the first vaccine approved to prevent the lower respiratory tract disease caused by the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) in infants from birth to six months old.

The Abrysvo vaccine is available as a one-dose injection for people 32 to 36 weeks pregnant. Protection from the immunization passes from the mother to the infant, protecting infants in their earliest days of life. FDA clinical studies showed that Abrysvo given during pregnancy reduced the risk of lower-respiratory infections in infants by 81.8% within 90 days of birth, and by 69.4% within 180 days of birth.

RSV is a common, highly contagious virus that, in mild cases, can cause cold-like symptoms. However, in severe cases, RSV can lead to hospitalization or death. According to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), RSV is the leading cause of bronchiolitis in children a year old or younger, resulting in nearly 58,000 yearly hospitalizations for those under five years old. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identifies vaccines as the most efficient way to protect older adults and infants from the virus, which are the two most at-risk age groups for infection. RSV is often spread by coughs, sneezes, and touching infected surfaces.

Where can you find vaccines?

To find a vaccine, check with your primary care physician, local health departments, pharmacies, and clinics. You can also visit www.vaccines.gov to locate a vaccine clinic near you.

If you would like to learn more about vaccines, check out Michigan State University Extension’s partnership with the Michigan Vaccine Project to find links to event schedules, podcasts, publications, webinars, and videos relating to vaccine education.

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