RSV vaccines and recommendations from the CDC

Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) is a common respiratory virus that often causes mild, cold-like symptoms in healthy individuals. However, older adults, especially those over 60 years of age, are at higher risk of developing severe RSV infections that may require hospitalization.

Arexvy and Abrysvo are two new RSV vaccines available for use during the winter season. Both vaccines have received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and are recommended by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) for adults aged 60 years and older.

The CDC’s recommendation for RSV vaccination in this age group involves shared clinical decision-making. This means that patients and their healthcare providers should engage in a discussion to determine whether receiving the RSV vaccine would be beneficial for the individual. Factors to consider in this decision-making process may include the individual’s overall health, medical history, potential RSV exposure risk, and any potential contraindications or precautions associated with the vaccine.

It’s important for individuals in this age group to consult with their healthcare providers to make an informed decision about RSV vaccination based on their specific circumstances and health needs.

Science indicates that people 60 years and older who are at highest risk for severe RSV disease and who might benefit most from vaccination include those with chronic medical conditions such as:
• Cardiopulmonary (heart and/or lung) disease
• Kidney disorders
• Liver disorders
• Neurologic or neuromuscular conditions
• Hematologic (blood) disorders
• Diabetes mellitus
• Moderate or severe immune compromise (whether due to a medical condition or receipt of immunosuppressive medications or treatment)
• Persons who are frail (a condition causing increased risk of adverse health outcomes)
• Persons of advanced age (>60)
• Persons who reside in nursing homes or other long-term care facilities
• Persons with other underlying conditions or factors that the provider determines might increase the risk for severe respiratory disease

Another consideration is vaccine cost. Knowing that the RSV vaccine is a covered service can alleviate concerns about the financial aspect of vaccination for eligible individuals. This can also help with the shared clinical decision-making process between patients and healthcare providers as they discuss the benefits of vaccination.

RSV vaccination is a covered benefit for adults over 60, according to the Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) CPCP006 Preventive Services Policy, effective October 1, 2023. For patients with Medicare, the vaccine is covered under Medicare Part D and must be administered in a pharmacy with a prescription from your medical provider.

The RSV vaccine is available at Stellus Rx Pharmacy, located on the first floor of the Health Pavilion. The vaccine is not available at any HSC Health clinic at this time.

Not sure if you should get the RSV vaccine? Talk with your healthcare provider to see if getting the RSV vaccine is right for you!

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