The National Advisory Committee on Immunization is recommending a universal immunization program against respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, for all infants.   

It says provinces and territories should work toward providing the antibody drug Nirsevimab for all infants before their first RSV season. 

But it says they could start by prioritizing the highest-risk infants if cost or access to the antibody is a barrier to implementing a universal program right away.  

Babies at highest risk of becoming seriously ill with RSV include those born prematurely, those with certain medical conditions and infants living in crowded conditions or other high-risk settings.   

The committee says Nirsevimab should also be prioritized for infants living in remote areas where transportation to get treatment would be difficult if they got severe RSV, including some First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities. 

Health Canada authorized Nirsevimab — also known by its brand name Beyfortus — in April 2023. 

The national committee also said that pregnant people and their health-care providers could consider a vaccine called RSVpreF, or Abrysvo, which is given during the third trimester to provide protection against RSV for the infant.  

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 17, 2024.