loader image
1 Heart Home Logo Red

A New Vaccine for Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV)

Hey there! We’ve got some exciting news today, straight from the grapevine of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Hold onto your hats because a new vaccine for Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) has been given the green light for adults 60 and up. Brace yourselves, this fall, the fight against RSV just got a whole lot stronger, and it’s set to save thousands of lives annually.

“But wait,” you might ask, “will seniors want to get this new jab?” and “How do we make sense of all these vaccine recommendations?” Well, we’ve learned a thing or two from our recent experiences with COVID-19, and the good news is that for many older adults, this vaccine won’t cost them a dime. These elements could make the RSV vaccine both accessible and appealing to those most at risk.

Understanding RSV and Its Impact on Seniors

Now, for those who might be wondering, RSV, just like the flu, is a seasonal nuisance that typically shows up in the winter months here in the US. It usually causes mild symptoms in healthy adults, but for some of our older buddies and those with chronic heart or lung issues or weakened immune systems, it can be a serious threat.

Each year, RSV sends between 60,000 and 160,000 seniors to the hospital and claims the lives of 6,000 to 10,000. And while we’re on comparisons, let’s talk flu numbers. Over the last decade, flu deaths among adults 65 and older have varied from as low as 3,800 deaths in the 2021-22 season to a peak of 43,000 deaths in 2017-18. The surprisingly low rate in the 2021-22 season has been linked to all those health practices we adopted during the COVID-19 pandemic – remember those masks and all that handwashing? Turns out, they’re pretty effective against RSV too!

The Arrival of the RSV Vaccine

Now, let’s get to the star of the show – the RSV vaccine. Back in May, the FDA gave the thumbs up to two RSV vaccines – GSK’s Arexvy and Pfizer’s Abrysvo. Fast-forward to June 21, and the CDC’s panel of vaccine whizzes, the Advisory Council on Immunization Practices (ACIP), suggested that adults 60 and up should chat with their health care providers about getting the new RSV vaccine.

Let’s pause for a moment here to acknowledge that fall is already a pretty packed season for vaccines. With the annual flu jab, the potential COVID-19 booster, and other regulars like the shingles and pneumonia vaccines, older adults have a full plate. So, will they want to add this new RSV vaccine to their routine? That’s a big question, and we’ll just have to wait and see. Some folks might have queries about taking multiple vaccines at once, and it’s a valid concern. The jury’s still out on how these vaccines might interact, and we need more information to make informed choices.

Looking Back at the COVID-19 Vaccine Journey

Now, let’s revisit the exciting journey of the COVID-19 vaccines. When they first rolled out, they were embraced with open arms by older adults. Fast forward to May 2023, and 94 percent of adults 65 and older are fully vaccinated against COVID. However, only 43 percent have received the latest, two-part COVID booster to protect against new virus strains. The reasons for this drop are varied – vaccine hesitancy, confusion over shifting recommendations, side effects, and vaccine fatigue have all played a part.

Good News:

Free Vaccines and a More Adaptive Healthcare System
But here’s the good news. First, thanks to the newly enacted Inflation Reduction Act, most older adults can get ACIP-recommended vaccines for free. That means, as of 2023, if you’re on Medicare, you won’t be shelling out copays for vaccines covered by your prescription drug plans. This cost removal might encourage those who’ve been hesitant because of the expense.

Secondly, our healthcare system has proven its adaptability and willingness to innovate. Remember the mobile clinics that started popping up during the COVID-19 pandemic? They are still on the move and could help with getting these CDC-recommended vaccines like the new RSV one to as many older adults as possible, especially in rural areas. And it doesn’t stop there! Pharmacists now have the authority to administer a broader range of vaccines, which means older adults can get the RSV vaccines at more locations and types of places.

Creating a Solid Game Plan

So, here’s where we’re at: with the new RSV vaccines approved, we need a solid game plan for a smooth rollout. This comes at a time when some older adults may not be super keen on yet another vaccine recommendation. To win this, we need to up our community-based outreach efforts around the RSV vaccines. This way, we can boost vaccine confidence and knock down any barriers to access. Moreover, clear guidelines on when and how to take multiple recommended vaccines can help older adults manage their interactions with the healthcare system.

How 1 Heart Home Health Care Can Help

At 1 Heart Home Health Care, we care about you and your health. We’re here to provide you with the most up-to-date information to help you make informed decisions about your health. We’re also here to support you in navigating these new recommendations and changes.

So, have questions? Need to chat more about this new vaccine and what it means for you? We’re all ears.

Get in touch with us today and let’s talk about how you can take advantage of these new opportunities to safeguard your health.

We’re in this together, and your well-being is our top priority.

Become a client at our home health care agency today. We’re just a message away!

Scroll to Top