December 4, 2023

By Katia Hetter | CNN

For the primary time, adults 60 and older are eligible to obtain a vaccine in opposition to the respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV.

Though many individuals might haven’t heard of RSV, it’s price figuring out that the US Meals and Drug Administration has authorised two vaccines for this age group: Arexvy made by the drug firm GlaxoSmithKline and Abrysvo made by the corporate Pfizer. The US Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention has additionally given the inexperienced gentle to the vaccines following FDA approvals.

Since that is the primary time an RSV vaccine has been made broadly out there, some older folks could also be questioning why it could be wanted. Is RSV a significant downside in adults, particularly older adults? How efficient are these new vaccines? How ought to or not it’s timed in relation to the Covid-19 and influenza vaccines? And is there the same vaccine to guard younger youngsters?

RELATED: COVID-19, flu and RSV: A information to this fall’s vaccine choices

To assist us with these questions, I spoke with CNN Wellness medical professional Dr. Leana Wen, who’s an emergency doctor and professor of well being coverage and administration on the George Washington College Milken Institute College of Public Well being. She beforehand served as Baltimore’s well being commissioner.

CNN: Is RSV a significant trigger for concern in adults?  

Dr. Leana Wen: Whereas RSV is usually considered a illness affecting youngsters, this viral an infection additionally poses threats to adults — specifically, to older people. In the US, an estimated 159,000 adults 65 and older are hospitalized every year due to RSV. Tragically, round 10,000 to 13,000 older adults yearly die from this an infection.

A new evaluation from the CDC exhibits that between February 2022 and Might 2023, whereas older adults had fewer hospitalizations for RSV than Covid-19 or the flu, sufferers with RSV had extra critical outcomes, together with the necessity for intensive care and needing superior respiratory help.

As with different infections, corresponding to Covid-19, these probably to expertise sick results are those that are immunocompromised and who’ve critical underlying medical situations corresponding to coronary heart, lung and kidney illnesses.

For the time being, the speed of seniors being hospitalized for RSV is about 6 out of 100,000, in line with CDC information. That is uncharacteristically excessive for this time of the yr and, in truth, is about 10 occasions increased in contrast with years earlier than the Covid-19 pandemic.

The whole variety of hospitalized adults resulting from RSV remains to be comparatively low, however to me the general level is that it is a extremely contagious respiratory virus that may trigger actual hurt in susceptible folks. It’s a significant breakthrough that there at the moment are vaccines that may assist shield in opposition to extreme sickness resulting from this virus.

CNN: How efficient are the brand new vaccines?