Widespread use of Pfizer's maternal RSV shot would reduce costs and prevent infant hospitalizations: study

After a recent FDA approval and CDC recommendation, Pfizer's Abyrsvo is the first maternal vaccine to protect babies from respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). Now, new research from the company suggests that widespread uptake of the shot could significantly reduce infant hospitalizations and save hundreds of millions of dollars in annual costs.

Widespread uptake of the vaccine could slash annual hospitalizations in half, reduce emergency department visits by 31.8% and cut outpatient clinic visits by 32.2% among the 3.7 million U.S. babies that are less than one year old, according to projections shared by the drugmaker ahead of the annual IDWeek meeting.

Abrysvo usage could save up to $691.8 million in direct medical costs and up to $110 million in indirect costs, such as work loss, Pfizer’s director of RSV vaccines value and evidence, Dr, Amy Law, said in a media briefing ahead of IDWeek. Law is the presenting author of the work.

The team clarifies that the data is based on 100% uptake. Of course, that's an optimistic projection and it's unclear what level of usage the vaccine will see in the real world.

Nonetheless, the numbers show that Pfizer’s offering can have a “substantial impact” on easing RSV’s burden, Law said.

As it stands, more than 592,000 RSV cases in infants occur each year, accounting for an annual economic burden of about $1.7 billion, Law said. With the maternal vaccine, the company expects some 200,000 cases to be averted.

The first-of-its-kind vaccine won its maternal approval from the FDA in August. The CDC's recommendation followed shortly after.

This RSV season, infants have two available options, giving pregnant individuals a choice in protection methods, Law pointed out.

Sanofi and AstraZeneca’s antibody Beyfortus also protects infants up to 24 months of age.

Beyfortus snagged its FDA nod in July in what Sanofi’s Executive Vice President of Vaccines Thomas Triomphe called an “unprecedented moment for protecting infant health.”