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RSV Vaccine for Pregnant Women – In Depth


Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a common cause of respiratory infections in infants and young children. It can lead to serious complications such as pneumonia, bronchiolitis, and respiratory failure. RSV is also associated with an increased risk of asthma and wheezing later in life. 

To protect infants from severe RSV disease, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends two options: an RSV vaccination given to pregnant women during RSV season, or an RSV immunization given directly to infants and some older babies. 

In this blog post, we will focus on the first option: the RSV vaccination for pregnant women. We will discuss what it is, how it works, who should get it, and what are the possible risks and benefits. 

The RSV vaccination for pregnant women is a new vaccine developed by Pfizer. It is called Abrysvo or RSVpreF. It contains a recombinant protein that mimics the shape of the RSV virus and triggers an immune response in the body. 

The vaccine is given as a single shot in the upper arm during weeks 32 through 36 of pregnancy, during September through January, the typical RSV season in most parts of the United States. The vaccine aims to protect babies from getting very sick with RSV during their first RSV season after birth. 

When a pregnant woman gets the RSV vaccine, her body produces antibodies that fight against the RSV virus. These antibodies also pass to her baby through the placenta. This way, the baby is born with some protection against RSV. 

The vaccine can reduce the baby's risk of being hospitalized from RSV by 57% in the first six months after birth, according to clinical trials. Babies born to mothers who get the RSV vaccine at least two weeks before delivery will have protection and, in most cases, will not need an RSV immunization later. 


The CDC recommends that all pregnant women who are 32 through 36 weeks pregnant from September through January should get one dose of the RSV vaccine to protect their babies. However, RSV seasons can vary in different parts of the country, so it is important to talk to your healthcare provider about when RSV season is expected where you live. 

The vaccine should not be given to anyone who has a history of severe allergic reactions, such as anaphylaxis, to any component of the vaccine. If you have a moderate or severe acute illness, you should wait until you recover before getting the vaccine. 


Like any vaccine, the RSV vaccine may cause some side effects. The most common ones reported by pregnant women who received the vaccine in clinical trials were pain at the injection site, headache, muscle pain, and nausea. These side effects were usually mild and resolved within a few days. 

However, there are also some potential risks that are not yet fully understood. One of them is pre-eclampsia, a dangerous high-blood-pressure condition that can affect pregnant women and their babies. Pre-eclampsia occurred in 1.8% of pregnant women who received the RSV vaccine compared to 1.4% of pregnant women who received a placebo. It is unclear whether this difference was caused by the vaccine or by chance. 

Another potential risk is preterm birth, which means delivering a baby before 37 weeks of pregnancy. Preterm birth can have serious consequences for the baby's health and development. Preterm birth was reported among some pregnant women who received the RSV vaccine during clinical trials, but it is not known whether it was related to the vaccine or not. 

More studies and surveillance are needed to monitor these potential risks and to determine whether they are caused by the vaccine or by other factors. 

The main benefit of the RSV vaccination for pregnant women is that it can protect their babies from severe RSV disease during their first year of life. This can prevent hospitalizations, complications, and long-term effects of RSV infection on their respiratory health. 

The vaccine can also benefit pregnant women themselves by reducing their risk of getting infected with RSV and developing respiratory problems that could affect their pregnancy outcomes. 

Additionally, by preventing RSV transmission from mothers to babies, the vaccine can help reduce the burden of RSV disease on families and communities. 

The RSV vaccination for pregnant women is a new and promising way to protect infants from severe RSV disease. However, it also comes with potential risks that need further investigation and monitoring. Pregnant women should talk to Dr. Lorenzo of Kortney Jones ARNP  about the benefits and risks of the vaccine and make an informed decision based on their individual situation and preferences. 



Complete Healthcare for Women - Obstetrics and Gynecology


Richard Lorenzo, D.O.

Kortney Jones ARNP

Dr. Lorenzo Richard Lorenzo, DO Dr. Lorenzo is also a Fellow of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and a Fellow of the American College of Osteopathic Obstetricians and Gynecologists. He provides gynecological and obstetric services, including prenatal care, pregnancy care, infertility, and gynecology. Dr. Lorenzo is proficient in advanced surgical techniques, including minimally-invasive procedures, as well as surgery for abnormal uterine bleeding, endometriosis, and hysterectomy. He has specialized training in high-risk obstetrics and minimally invasive surgical techniques, including minimally invasive hysterectomy.

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