CDC Recommends RSV Vaccine for Older Adults Ahead of Respiratory Virus Season

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — In preparation for the upcoming respiratory virus season, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently updated its guidance on the use of Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) vaccines for individuals aged 60 and older. This new recommendation focuses on protecting those most at risk from severe RSV infections.

The CDC now advises that everyone aged 75 and older should receive the RSV vaccine. Additionally, people aged 60 to 74 who have chronic medical conditions—such as lung or heart disease—or who live in nursing homes, should also get vaccinated. This update simplifies the previous guidance and aims to make it easier for clinicians and the public to understand who should be vaccinated.

Dr. Mandy Cohen, CDC Director, emphasized the importance of this update. “The CDC has updated its RSV vaccination recommendation for older adults to prioritize those at highest risk for serious illness from RSV,” she said. “People 75 or older, or between 60-74 with certain chronic health conditions or living in a nursing home should get one dose of the RSV vaccine to provide an extra layer of protection.”

This recommendation specifically targets adults who did not receive an RSV vaccine last year. Unlike the annual flu shot, the RSV vaccine is not currently administered annually. Eligible adults can get the vaccine at any time, but late summer and early fall are ideal to ensure protection before RSV starts spreading in communities.

RSV vaccines became available for older adults for the first time last year. The CDC’s updated guidance draws from recent analyses of RSV’s impact on those 60 and older, as well as studies on the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of the vaccine. These analyses included real-world data collected since the vaccine was initially recommended.

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Protecting Vulnerable Populations

RSV is a common respiratory virus that can lead to serious illness, especially in older adults and those with chronic health conditions. By targeting high-risk populations, the CDC aims to reduce hospitalizations and severe cases of RSV.

Healthcare providers play a crucial role in this effort. They should not only recommend the RSV vaccine to eligible patients but also discuss other essential vaccines to prevent respiratory infections this fall. This comprehensive approach will help ensure that vulnerable populations receive the protection they need.

As we move into the respiratory virus season, the CDC’s updated recommendation serves as a timely reminder of the importance of vaccination. By prioritizing those at highest risk, these measures aim to safeguard public health and alleviate the burden on healthcare systems.

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