CDC Strengthens RSV Vaccine Recommendations for Seniors 75 and Older

CDC Strengthens RSV Vaccine Recommendations for Seniors 75 and Older

The CDC now strongly recommends RSV vaccinations for individuals 75 and older, while advising those aged 60-74 to consult their doctors, especially if at higher risk.

United States, Bollywood Fever: U.S. health officials have issued a stronger endorsement for RSV vaccinations for people aged 75 and older, while offering a more cautious recommendation for those aged 60 to 74. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) director accepted the recommendations from a committee of outside advisers, updating the government’s guidance to doctors.

A year ago, the advisory group recommended that people 60 and older should discuss the RSV vaccine with their doctors. This lukewarm endorsement led to confusion among patients and likely contributed to the fact that fewer than 25% of older Americans have received the shot.

CDC Strengthens RSV Vaccine Recommendations for Seniors 75 and Older

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a common cause of cold-like symptoms but can be dangerous for infants and the elderly. Last year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) licensed single-dose RSV vaccines from GSK and Pfizer for older people. The advisory group initially hesitated to recommend the vaccine for all older Americans due to concerns about possible side effects and the duration of protection.

On Wednesday, the panel recommended that individuals 75 and older should receive the vaccine, while those aged 60 to 74 should consider the shot if they are at higher risk for severe disease. The panel also did not endorse the GSK vaccine for people in their 50s, despite the FDA recently licensing it for that age group. A newly approved RSV shot from Moderna will follow the same guidance.

Panel members stated that data supports the recommendation for all individuals 75 and older due to their higher risk of severe RSV cases. For those 60 and older, high-risk conditions include chronic heart disease, advanced-stage kidney disease, chronic lung illnesses, and severe obesity. About 39% of people in this age group qualify under the strictest interpretation of the guidelines, according to CDC officials.

The committee also recommended the vaccine for 60- to 74-year-olds living in nursing homes or deemed frail by their doctors for other reasons.

The panel’s cautious approach stems from reports of a nervous system disorder, Guillain-Barre syndrome, which has occurred more frequently than expected among RSV vaccine recipients, particularly those who received the Pfizer shot. FDA officials stated there is no clear evidence that the vaccines cause the disorder, but research is ongoing.

“I do agree with the overall conclusion that the risks of RSV vaccination are greatly outweighed by the overall benefits,” said Dr. Camille Kotton, an infectious diseases expert at Massachusetts General Hospital. “Nonetheless, I remain quite concerned” about recurring indicators of Guillain-Barre in vaccination surveillance data, she added.

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Nicholas Edwards

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