RSV Vaccine Recommended for Adults Age 60 and Older

An advisory committee to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended that adults ages 60 and above, after consulting their doctors, receive a single dose of RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) vaccine from Pfizer or GlaxoSmithKline. The panel said seniors should use “shared clinical decision-making,” which means working with their healthcare provider to decide how much they will benefit from a shot. The CDC director must decide whether to finalize the recommendation, but the panel’s decision moves the U.S. one step closer to making RSV vaccine shots available to the public in fall 2023, when the disease typically begins to spread at higher levels. The season typically lasts from October to March in the Northern Hemisphere. The recommendation also comes weeks after the Food and Drug Administration approved both vaccines, making them the world’s first authorized shots against the virus. RSV is a common respiratory infection that usually causes mild, cold-like symptoms, but more severe cases in older adults and children. Each year, RSV kills 6,000 to 10,000 seniors and a few hundred children younger than 5, according to the CDC. It’s not yet clear how much the shots will cost. The shots are projected to help the U.S. combat the upcoming RSV season in the fall after an unusually severe RSV season last year, when cases of the virus in children and older adults overwhelmed hospitals across the country.

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