New CDC Recommendation to Protect Young Children from Severe RSV Infection

Sept. 12, 2023

Going back to school is an exciting time of the year for many children. Learning new things, enjoying time with friends, and attending sports events are just some of the many joys of the back-to-school season! However, parents and healthcare providers also recognize this time of the year as the time when respiratory infections spread rapidly among children. Respiratory syncytial virus or RSV, a respiratory virus that causes cold-like symptoms in adults and children, is one of the many communicable illnesses spread among schoolchildren especially. 

Both adults and children alike can become infected with RSV, however, infants who enter their first RSV season are at risk of severe RSV infection, which could leave them hospitalized. Each year, upwards of 60,000 children under age five are hospitalized for RSV each year, and an estimated 100 to 300 children under age five die each year due to severe RSV infection. A recent CDC immunization recommendation has the potential to greatly reduce the frequency of hospitalizations among infants with RSV. 

As of August 2023, Nirsevimab (Beyforus™) is now being recommended by the CDC as an immunization to prevent severe RSV infection in young children. Niresevimab contains a dose of monoclonal antibodies that mimic those naturally produced in the body. They work to fight off the RSV virus when it is introduced to the immune system. It is reported that the risk of both that hospitalization and the need to visit a medical professional for RSV infection was reduced by 80% among immunized infants. CDC director Mandy Cohen, MD, MPH calls the new RSV immunization a “powerful tool” that parents can use to protect their infants at the highest risk. Parents are encouraged to speak with their pediatricians about RSV immunization and how to prevent cases of severe RSV in their young children. 

CDC Recommendations: 

The CDC recommends one dose of injectable Niresevimab for all infants younger than 8 months old, who were either born in RSV season or are entering an RSV season (fall through spring). A second dose administered during one’s second RSV season is recommended for infants who are immunocompromised. RSV immunization is slated to be available this fall through the Vaccines for Children (VFC) program. Expectant mothers and mothers of infants and young children should consult with a healthcare provider to request this immunization.  

Additional Resources:

To learn more about RSV in infants and young children, click here:

To learn more about CDC-recommended vaccines for infants and children, click here:

To learn about eligibility for the Vaccines for Children Program in Arizona, click here: