Health & Wellness

FDA Advisors Recommend Approval for First Vaccine to Protect Babies From RSV

Earlier this month, the FDA approved an RSV vaccine for adults aged 60 and up

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When it comes to two-and-a-half-year-old Graham, Lauren Matragrano will do just about anything to keep her youngest happy and safe.

That's why before he was born, she jumped at an opportunity to protect him, enrolling in a clinical trial for an RSV vaccine.

“MY OBGYN told me about it. She mentioned it to me and said she would suggest it, that one of her daughters had rsv,” said Matragrano.

When given to pregnant mothers, the Pfizer vaccine is intended to pass antibodies to the fetus, later protecting newborns against the cold virus that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports hospitalizes as many as 80,000 kids under the age of five each year.

This week, an FDA advisory panel announced their support for approval, voting unanimously on the vaccine's effectiveness. The study showed it lowers the risk of severe disease in young infants by about 80%.

When it came to safety, the panel also voted to recommend the vaccine though some expressed concern over a potential risk of preterm birth.

Still, after RSV brought North Texas's pediatric hospitals to capacity last fall, Dallas County's Health Director Dr. Philip Huang is calling the vaccine a step in the right direction.

According to the CDC, RSV results in around 58,000 annual hospitalizations and 100 to 300 deaths among children under 5 each year in the U.S.

“There are so many childhood illnesses and vaccine-preventable diseases that vaccines have made a huge impact on saving lives,” said Huang.

It could be months before the FDA decides whether to follow the guidance and approve the vaccine.

Matragrano said she was happy with her decision, and though she still doesn't know whether she received the actual vaccine or a placebo, she said it's provided a little extra peace of mind.

“I just thought, it's hard enough being a new mom. Why deal with this on top of everything else?” she said.

Earlier this month, the FDA approved an RSV vaccine for adults aged 60 and up.

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