You Can Now Get Your Kids Vaccinated Against RSV?

Two RSV vaccines are being developed for young children and women in the later stages of pregnancy in order to prevent the approximately 100,000 deaths that occur in the infant/child age group annually as a result of the virus.

By Brian Scheid | Published

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This past flu and RSV winter season was one of the worst on record, and combined with Covid-19 still making its rounds it caused quite a big mess in emergency rooms across the nation. We have flu shots available for the needy and we have a Covid-19 vaccine it looks like we are now going to get an RSV vaccine which should help elevate the stress on hospitals caring for the sick. An advisory panel has recommended two vaccines to fight the respiratory syncytial virus in older adults.

This opens the door for a potential RSV vaccine for kids aged 5 or younger.  According to WebMd, “The New York Times reported RSV vaccines are being developed for children and for use during the later months of pregnancy.” RSV is responsible for 100,000 deaths in that age group throughout the world every year. This is welcome news to parents as one less thing they must worry about with their children’s safety. 

Let’s take a look at the RSV vaccine testing results for adults over the age of 60 which is the age group that the currently recommended vaccine that was developed by Pfizer and GSK is targeted to treat.  Pfizer’s trial involved 34,000 people and had an effective rate of preventing RSV-related respiratory tract illness 67 percent of the time. It also showed promising results for 86 percent of the people that were treated using the vaccine when patients presented three or more of the symptoms of RSV.

Not only was it over two-thirds effective in preventing it all together it also was effective on people that had contracted the virus. GSK’s trial involved 25,000 participants and it was even more successful than Pfizer’s version and was able to resist the virus in 83 percent of the participants. Both trials consisted of half the participants receiving a placebo and the other half receiving the RSV vaccine and there were no RSV deaths for the participants that received the placebo.

There were some participants who unfortunately developed serious health conditions during the study, including Guillain-Barre and acute disseminated encephalomyelitis. Whether these ailments were a result of the vaccine is unknown, and the manufacturers will be monitoring the safety of the shot after it gets FDA approval. Normally when an advisory panel gives its thumbs up for a medication the FDA will approve it a few months later after it does its due diligence on the trial data. 

We anticipate that the children’s version will not be far behind the elderly adult version as the young and the old are the most susceptible to serious complications if infected with the virus.  That should be a big sigh of relief from parents and healthcare professionals alike. We know how the ERs have been tremendously overburdened by the volume of RSV, Flu, and Covid-19 patients over the last 3 years and they certainly could use a break.