Health Canada approves Pfizer’s RSV vaccine for older adults, pregnant people

Respiratory illness. Image credit: Wikipedia

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Toronto: Another respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) vaccine for adults over the age of 60 and pregnant people has reportedly been approved by Health Canada this week.

According to Health Canada, Pfizer’s bivalent RSV vaccine, Abrysvo, has been authorized for the prevention of lower respiratory tract disease caused by RSV for the use of both pregnant individuals from 32 through 36 weeks gestational age as well as in infants from birth through six months of age.

The shot is also approved for Canadians 60 years and older.

“Vaccines are considered to be the most effective tool in public health for preventing illness and can help reduce the stress on our healthcare system and professionals including nurses, doctors, and others on the frontline,” Dr. Darine El-Chaâr, maternal-fetal medicine physician at The Ottawa Hospital, was reported saying in a press release on Thursday.

“Vaccines administered through maternal immunization can also help play a critical role in decreasing the gap of vulnerability in the first few months of an infant’s life, as well as helping to protect their mothers, who may be at increased risk of severe disease compared with non-pregnant women.”

RSV infection is a major cause of lower respiratory illness, particularly among infants, young children and older adults. RSV season in Canada usually starts in the late fall and lasts until spring.

This is the second RSV vaccine approved by Health Canada. The first one, Arexvy by GSK, was approved on Aug. 4, 2023, but is only for adults aged 60 years and up.