Respiratory Virus Vaccination for Pregnant People

September 29, 2023, 1:30 PM EDT

Key points

  • Reports from CDC's show that vaccination against COVID-19 helps protect the pregnant person and their baby.
  • CDC recently recommended respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) vaccination seasonally during weeks 32 through 36 of pregnancy to protect babies against RSV.
  • Those who are pregnant, or planning to be pregnant, should stay up to date with recommended vaccinations against respiratory viruses.
Man with pregnant woman wearing masks and talking with a masked doctor in exam room


What CDC knows

Pregnant and recently pregnant people are at increased risk of being hospitalized with COVID-19 and flu. Babies are also more likely to get very sick from COVID-19, flu, and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).

What CDC is doing

CDC recommends COVID-19 and flu vaccination for pregnant people to help protect themselves and their babies from COVID-19 and flu. CDC also recommends RSV vaccination for pregnant people to protect their babies from RSV.


Pregnant people are more likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19 and flu than people of the same age who are not pregnant. Additionally, having one or more certain underlying medical conditions or other risk factors can further increase a pregnant person's risk for being hospitalized with COVID-19 or flu. Having COVID-19 or flu while pregnant may also increase the risk of complications that can affect the health of the baby.

COVID-19, flu, and RSV vaccinations during pregnancy provide protection for babies. This is because vaccination creates antibodies that pass to the baby during pregnancy.

Current Information

An MMWR published in September 2023 found that getting a COVID-19 vaccine during pregnancy lowered the chances of COVID-19 hospitalization for babies. Over 75 percent of babies hospitalized with COVID-19 were born to women who did not receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Previous studies have shown that getting a flu shot can reduce a pregnant person's risk of being hospitalized with flu by an average of 40 percent. Flu vaccination during pregnancy also reduces the risk of flu illness and hospitalization in babies during the first few months of life when babies are too young to receive flu vaccines. A recently approved RSV vaccine for pregnant people provides protection for babies and is recommended for seasonal use, generally September through January in the United States. Clinical trials showed that giving the RSV vaccine to pregnant people reduced the risk of their babies being hospitalized for RSV by more than 50 percent.

Multiple studies support the safety of COVID-19 and flu vaccination in pregnancy. Clinical trials of pregnant people support the safety of RSV vaccine, with benefits outweighing potential risks. The clinical trials identified a small increase in the number of preterm birth events in vaccinated pregnant people, so administration is recommended at 32 to 36 weeks' gestation. It is not clear if this increase in preterm birth is due to RSV vaccine or if this occurred for reasons unrelated to vaccination. CDC will monitor the safety of maternal vaccines, including the new maternal RSV vaccine, using multiple vaccine safety systems.

COVID-19, flu, and RSV vaccines may be given at the same visit if they are otherwise recommended. Pregnant people are encouraged to speak with their healthcare provider about COVID-19, flu, and RSV vaccinations.

Actions for Pregnant People

Vaccinations during pregnancy provide protection for people who are pregnant and their babies. All people who are pregnant, or planning to get pregnant, should stay up to date with all recommended vaccinations, including:


CDC recommends an updated COVID-19 vaccine for everyone ages 6 months and older. This includes people who are pregnant, breastfeeding, trying to get pregnant now, or might become pregnant in the future. Pregnant people may receive a COVID-19 vaccine during any trimester of pregnancy.


CDC recommends pregnant people get a flu vaccine by the end of October, although flu vaccination should continue as long as flu is circulating. Getting a flu vaccine by the end of October helps protect pregnant people and their babies before flu activity begins to increase. Pregnant people may receive a flu vaccine during any trimester of pregnancy.


All babies should be protected from a serious RSV illness and there are two options for protection: a vaccine for the pregnant person and preventive antibodies given to the baby. Only one of these options is needed for most babies to be protected. The RSV vaccine is recommended for pregnant people during 32 through 36 weeks of pregnancy to help protect their newborns from a serious RSV illness. This vaccine is usually given from September through January.