Preventing RSV in adults
Most people who get Respiratory Syncytial virus (RSV) have mild, cold-like symptoms and recover in a week or two. But RSV can be serious, for older adults. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended that two groups of adults get vaccinated for RSV – adults over age 60 and women who are in their third trimester of pregnancy (the vaccine will help protect babies after they are born).
Which older adults are at highest risk for severe RSV infection?
Each year, it is estimated that 60,000 to 160,000 older adults are hospitalized and 6,000 to 10,000 die due to RSV infections. Adults with the highest risk of severe infection include:
Adults with chronic heart and lung disease
Adults with weakened immune systems
Adults with underlying medical conditions
Adults living in nursing homes or long-term care facilities
Can pregnant women get the RSV vaccine?
The Center for Disease Control recommends that pregnant women between 32-36 weeks pregnant should get the RSV vaccine. The vaccine has been proven to help protect newborns from a serious RSV illness. The vaccine is usually given from September through January.
What are the symptoms of RSV?
People with RSV infections usually show symptoms similar to the common cold – a runny nose and a fever. But people who are at a high risk of severe infection have more pneumonia symptoms like difficulty breathing and bad cough.
How can I get vaccinated?
If you are an adult over age 60 or are 32 – 36 weeks pregnant, you should talk to your doctor about your options for RSV vaccination.
If you are a parent of a child, please talk to your doctor. You can learn more about RSV in children, medicines available to prevent RSV, and steps you can take to prevent the disease at the UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital web site.
Is RSV covered by insurance?
Because the vaccine is newly approved, not all insurance companies are providing coverage. It is best to talk to your insurance company to see if you are covered.
Can I get an RSV vaccine with my flu or COVID-19 shot?
Yes. The RSV vaccine can be given on the same day with other adult vaccines.