RSV Prevention

There are several ways to protect against RSV. If you are age 60 or older a vaccine is available to protect you from severe illness caused by RSV. Talk to your healthcare provider to see if it’s right for you. If you are pregnant, you can get an RSV vaccine between 32-36 weeks of pregnancy to protect your infant after birth, or a preventive antibody can be given to your baby after birth.

  • Nirsevimab (Beyfortus) is a long-acting monoclonal antibody that prevents severe RSV disease. Although both monoclonal antibodies and vaccines provide protection, the way they provide protection is different. Nirsevimab is an antibody that provides direct protection against RSV to the recipient (passive immunization). A vaccine stimulates the recipient’s own immune system to start an immune response, which includes making antibodies (active immunization).

Key Facts about RSV Immunizations

  • Adults ages 60 years and older should receive a single dose of RSV vaccine, based on shared clinical decision making between the patient and healthcare provider.
  • To maximize protection for babies after birth, Pfizer’s bivalent RSVpreF vaccine (Abrysvo) should be given to the mothers who are 32-36 weeks pregnant during RSV season (September-January).
  • Infants younger than 8 months of age, born during- or entering- their first RSV season should get one dose of Nirsevimab within 1 week after birth.
  • Most infants whose mothers got the RSV vaccine don’t need to get Nirsevimab, too. However, there may be some situations in which Nirsevimab would be recommended for an infant after the mother received an RSV vaccine.
  • For children between the ages of 8 and 19 months who are at increased risk of severe RSV infection, such as children who are severely immunocompromised, a dose of Nirsevimab is recommended in their second RSV season.
  • RSV preventive antibodies can be given at the same time as vaccines routinely recommended for infants and young children.
  • Palivizumab (Synagis) is another monoclonal antibody product designed to prevent severe RSV disease. It is limited to children under 24 months of age with certain conditions that place them at high risk. Palivizumab must be given once a month during RSV season.
  • RSV vaccines for adults 60+ and pregnant people may be administered at the same time as other vaccines.
  • People who are moderately or severely ill should usually wait until they recover before getting an RSV vaccine.

Reasons to Get Protected Against RSV

Click image to read a personal RSV story.

  • RSV immunizations prevent lower respiratory tract disease (pneumonia or bronchiolitis) caused by respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).
  • Last fall and winter, RSV and other respiratory viruses circulated at high levels in communities throughout the United States, leading to an increase in RSV diagnoses, ER visits, and hospitalizations that put significant stress on healthcare systems.
  • RSV vaccine protects against serious illness.
    • Every year in the U.S., an estimated 60,000-160,000 adults with RSV are hospitalized, and 6,000-10,000 adults die from complications caused by RSV.
  • RSV is the number one cause of hospitalization for U.S. infants.
    • Each year over 2 million children under the age of 5 get sick with RSV.
    • Over 80,000 children under the age of 5 are hospitalized every year due to complications from RSV.
    • RSV causes 100-300 deaths in children under the age of 5 every year.
  • One dose of Abrysvo (Pfizer’s RSVpreF vaccine) during weeks 32-36 of pregnancy protects newborn babies from RSV after birth.
    • When you get an RSV vaccine during pregnancy you pass antibodies to your baby that can protect them from RSV in the first few months after they’re born, when they are too young to be vaccinated themselves.
    • The best way to protect yourself and your baby from RSV is by getting a maternal RSVpreF vaccine (Abrysvo).
  • Nirsevimab is an RSV immunization that gives protective antibodies directly to an infant to help their immune system fight off severe illness caused by RSV.
    • Nirsevimab has been shown to reduce the risk of hospitalization caused by RSV in infants by about 80%.
  • Getting an RSV vaccine can prevent you from spreading the disease to people who are at an increased risk of developing health complications from the virus (such as people who are pregnant, newborn babies and developing infants, people who have a weakened immune system because of disease or medical treatment, and older adults with chronic health conditions.)

Last Reviewed: January 2, 2024