ClickCease Who should get the RSV vaccine? | Easy Drug Card

Who should get the RSV vaccine?

Just like the common cold and the flu, RSV is another highly contagious respiratory virus that we need to worry about in the fall and winter months. You can help prevent the cold, flu, and RSV by washing your and your child’s hands often with soap and water or hand sanitizer, keeping household surfaces clean, avoiding others who are sick, and avoiding sharing glasses, cups, or utensils. You may wonder, what else can I do to protect yourself against RSV infection? There is now a vaccine to help protect people against the RSV virus.

What is RSV?

Respiratory syncytial virus, abbreviated to RSV, is a virus that can lead to infection and respiratory illness. This virus spreads easily from person to person when someone infected with the virus coughs or sneezes. RSV usually leads to upper respiratory symptoms, similar to mild cold symptoms. Though most people do recover from RSV infection in a week or two, in some cases RSV infection can lead to more serious illness. Serious illness from RSV is more common in infants and older adults. In these special populations, RSV is more likely to lead to pneumonia or swelling of the small, branching tubes in the lungs that carry air in an out (called bronchiolitis) than the typical common cold symptoms seen in the rest of the population. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data suggests that RSV is the most common cause of pneumonia or bronchiolitis in children younger than 1 year old.

Learn more about RSV here.

What are the symptoms of RSV?

Common symptoms associated with RSV infection include stuffy or runny nose, mild cough, fever, and decreased appetite. In more progressed bronchiolitis cases, other symptoms may include fast breathing, pauses between breaths, wheezing, severe cough, and trouble eating or drinking.

Which is it? Coronavirus, Cold, Flu, or Allergies?

RSV Vaccine

There are now two vaccines to help prevent respiratory illness from the RSV virus. One is called Arexvy and the other is called Abrysvo. Both vaccines were approved in 2023. Both vaccines were granted FDA approval based on clinical studies showing they reduced lower respiratory tract disease caused by RSV. The CDC recommends one dose of either Arexvy or Abrysvo for adults over the age of 60 if deemed appropriate by the person’s health care provider.

Who should get the RSV vaccine?

As described earlier, infants and older adults are at the highest risk for serious respiratory diseases caused by the RSV vaccine. Therefore, both vaccines are aimed at protecting these vulnerable populations of people. Both Arexvy and Abrysvo are approved for use in people over the age of 60. Abrysvo was also approved for use in pregnant women between 32 to 36 weeks gestational age. It is recommended for pregnant women of this gestational age to receive a one-time dose of Abrysvo. When received in pregnancy, the RSV vaccine (Abrysvo) can help the mother pass protection onto her child during pregnancy. The unborn baby receives something called antibodies from the mother, and this helps their immune system recognize the RSV virus to protect them for the first 6 months after birth. If you think the RSV vaccine may be right for you or your family member, discuss it with your health care provider at your next visit.

Disclaimer: This blog is written for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read or seen online.


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Dr. Andrea M. Jones

Dr. Andrea M. Jones is a clinical pharmacist specializing in transitions of care to facilitate a smooth transition for patients between the hospital and outpatient settings. Dr. Jones graduated from the University of Colorado School of Pharmacy and completed post-graduate year 1 residency at the Southern Arizona VA Healthcare System in Tucson, Arizona. Dr. Jones also worked in retail/community pharmacies for over 5 years during undergraduate studies at the University of Kentucky and pharmacy school at the University of Colorado.




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