💉🍂 “A Shot of Hope” or “Just Another Needle?” – First RSV Vaccine for Older Adults Rolling Out this Fall!

TL;DR: 😱 Potential game-changer alert! This fall, adults 60+ might be eligible for a new jab that could shield them from the Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV). Both Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline have brought their vaccines to the playing field, but with Pfizer being elusive about pricing and concern about the lack of representation of the 75+ demographic in clinical trials, the jury is still out. 🤔

Imagine being able to brace for winter without the dread of that nasty, lurking respiratory virus. No, not COVID-19 (though that’s a biggie too), but Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV). This virus might not ring a bell, but it’s been causing chaos in our bodies for years, especially for our senior citizens. RSV sends around 150,000 adults to the hospital each year and takes between 10,000 and 15,000 lives annually in the U.S alone.

But, what if we told you that there might be a way to kick this viral invader to the curb? Thanks to science (and a committee of very serious people), older adults might have a shot (pun intended 😏) at protection against RSV this fall. FDA-approved GlaxoSmithKline and Pfizer are leading the RSV vaccine race, with their new products being considered for recommendation for adults 60 and over. However, the final approval for distribution lies with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Two votes cast by the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices caught our attention. First, should adults between 60-64 get the jab? The vote was a near-unanimous yes. Then, should adults aged 65+ get the shot? This time, the room was more divided with a majority still voting yes.

BUT, the plot thickens. 💰 Some committee members didn’t exactly dig Pfizer’s silence on pricing, which could play a vital role in the shot’s accessibility and distribution. On the other hand, GSK’s RSV shot, named Arexvy, has a price range of $200 to $295.

What about the people most at risk – those above 75? Dr. Sarah Long, a professor of pediatrics at the Drexel University College of Medicine, shared concerns about the lack of representation of this group in the clinical trials. Can we consider these vaccines to be equally effective for them? 🧐

Noteworthy trials showed GSK’s single-dose vaccine was more than 67% effective in preventing lower respiratory tract illness over two full RSV seasons. As for Pfizer, the shot showed nearly 79% effectiveness against severe lower respiratory tract illness with three or more symptoms about a year and a half after administration.

Side effects? GSK’s vaccine was generally well-tolerated, with pain at the injection site being the most frequent side effect. Some fatigue, headache, muscle, or joint pain were also reported, but these were typically short-lived. 👍

So, here we stand, on the brink of what could be a significant breakthrough for public health. RSV has been an under-the-radar assailant for too long, often underestimated next to its infamous viral cousins like the flu and COVID-19. With these vaccines, we may finally be able to put up a strong defense, especially for our elderly community.

However, amidst the potential triumph, several questions beg to be answered. How will the absence of a clear price from Pfizer affect the vaccination campaign? Will the concerns about the underrepresented 75+ group