Is it safe to get the RSV vaccine when pregnant?

The simple answer is "Yes." As with any medicine or vaccine, you should always check with your healthcare provider, who is familiar with your medical history, before proceeding. However, Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) can cause severe lower respiratory tract infection (LRTI) in infants. Administration of the RSVpreF (Abrysvo) vaccine to pregnant people between weeks 32 and 36 of gestation can reduce the risk of babies' serious illness in the first months of life, particularly for those born from September through January (when the virus is typically circulating in most of the U.S.) The vaccine creates antibodies that pass to the baby in utero, protecting them from RSV for the first 6 months after birth.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (ACOG), pregnant persons can receive this vaccine at the same visit as other recommended vaccines, including those for Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis), flu, and COVID-19.

RSV contributes to approximately 58,000 hospitalizations each year, with infants ages 6 months and younger experiencing the most severe morbidity and mortality. Studies show that infants who are sickened with RSV are:

• more likely to experience severe infections, such as bronchiolitis (an inflammation of the small airways in the lung) and pneumonia (an infection of the lungs)

• more likely to need hospitalization, additional oxygen, IV fluids, or intubation (placement of a breathing tube in the airway) with mechanical ventilation.

Parents who choose not to receive a vaccine against RSV during pregnancy can have their infant receive an RSV monoclonal antibody, nirsevimab (Beyfortus), within one week after birth. Most babies will not need both forms of protection- both products have been shown to provide good virus risk reduction-but their doctor should be consulted. Babies who are between the ages of 8 and 19 months who are entering their second RSV season may also benefit from a dose of antibodies if they have chronic lung disease from premature birth, are severely immunocompromised, or have severe cystic fibrosis. American Indian and Alaska Native children are also recommended to have an additional dose of nirsevimab.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), the Society for Maternal Fetal Medicine (SMFM), and the CDC recommend vaccination for pregnant people. When parents and caregivers are vaccinated, they create a safer environment for an unvaccinated baby during peak RSV season. Ensuring everyone in your baby’s immediate circle is vaccinated will significantly reduce their risk of exposure to the virus. 

Last updated January 22, 2024

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