CDC panel recommends adults 65 and older get RSV vaccine

The CDC reports that upwards of 120,000 adults 65 and older are hospitalized every year due to RSV.
Electron microscope image of RSV
Posted at 2:48 PM, Jun 23, 2023

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is one step closer to recommending the RSV vaccine for adults 65 years and older. 

The agency's vaccine advisory committee voted 9-2 this week in favor of recommending the vaccine for seniors. The CDC director will now review the recommendation before deciding that the product can be widely administered.

RSV typically peaks in the winter months. In healthy individuals, the virus usually presents as a mild cold, which can take a week or two to recover from. However, the CDC reports that upwards of 120,000 adults 65 and older are hospitalized every year due to the respiratory virus, and between 6,000 and 10,000 die. 

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Health officials say older adults with weakened immune systems and chronic heart or lung disease are more likely to have severe outcomes. 

In May, the Food and Drug Administration approved the first RSV vaccine for older adults. 

A clinical trial for Arexvy, which includes 12,500 participants, is still ongoing, but the FDA approved the vaccine after analyzing its effectiveness over the course of the latest RSV season. 

Health officials said people who received the vaccine lowered their risk of developing severe disease by 94%.

RSV is also a major health concern for babies and young children. The CDC notes that 80,000 children under the age of 5 are hospitalized with RSV every year. There is still no approved vaccine to prevent the illness in children. 

A child suffering from RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) in the hospital.

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