February 21, 2024


Respiratory syncytial virus vial.

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Give 1 million adults 65 and older with one dose of RSV vaccine Pfizer or GlaxoSmithKline Thousands of hospitalizations could have been avoided during the two seasons in which the virus spread, according to the CDC analyze.

A CDC medical official presented an analysis by University of Michigan researchers at a conference Advisory Board Meeting Wednesday. The committee recommends that adults 60 and older get a single dose of the RSV vaccine from Pfizer or GlaxoSmithKline in consultation with their doctor.

The analysis found that administering a single dose of the Pfizer vaccine to 1 million adults age 65 and older could avert 2,500 hospitalizations and 25,000 outpatient visits over two seasons during which the virus was circulating.

In the northern hemisphere, RSV season typically runs from October to March.

The analysis also found that giving one million adults in the same age group a single dose of the GSK vaccine could prevent about 2,300 hospitalizations and 23,000 outpatient visits.

The number of estimated prevention outcomes was lower for adults ages 60 to 64, said Dr. Michael Melgar, a CDC medical officer. That’s because “less existing RSV disease” in this group required vaccine prophylaxis, he said.

The analysis further supports the efficacy of each of the newly approved vaccines in preventing RSV, a common respiratory virus that causes cold-like symptoms in most people but can lead to more severe infections in older adults and children.

RSV hospitalizes 60,000 to 160,000 older adults and kills 6,000 to 10,000 each year, according to the CDC data.

Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline both presented long-term efficacy data at the conference Wednesday, showing that their vaccines typically maintain some protection against RSV after a season of viral infection.

The analysis also showed that in the fall, when multiple respiratory viruses typically begin to circulate in large numbers, vaccination could reduce the RSV burden in hospitals.

Hospitals across the country were overwhelmed last year with cases of RSV in children and the elderly, as well as cases of coronavirus and the flu.