Be Familiar With RSV Vaccines for Adults

You’ll hear buzz about Abrysvo and Arexvy, the first vaccines to prevent respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) in adults.

RSV is a common virus that generally causes mild cold-like symptoms...and typically circulates from October through March.

But RSV may cause serious lower respiratory tract infections...especially in infants and older adults.

In fact, RSV causes up to 160,000 hospitalizations and 10,000 deaths annually in patients over age 65. These stats are similar to many flu seasons.

Be aware that Abrysvo or Arexvy are currently only recommended for adults age 60 and older. Either option is a single 0.5 mL IM dose.

Expect clinicians to discuss benefits and risks...and to help patients make individual decisions about RSV vaccination.

For example, evidence in patients 60 and older suggests that getting a single dose of either RSV vaccine makes it about 85% less likely to need a healthcare visit due to RSV infection.

But it’s too soon to say how well either product prevents RSV hospitalization or death...or whether vaccination is needed annually.

Clinicians can also explain that these vaccines aren’t live...and can’t cause RSV. Plus they’re generally well tolerated.

Be familiar with how to dispense Abrysvo or Arexvy properly. Either option requires reconstitution...but they’re prepped differently.

Abrysvo is a single-dose “kit” that contains a vial of vaccine powder...a syringe of sterile water diluent...and a vial adapter.

On the other hand, each dose of Arexvy consists of 2 vials...the vaccine powder and an adjuvant suspension.

Store both products in the fridge in their original packages before reconstitution.

And keep in mind that a dose of either RSV vaccine is only good for 4 hours once mixed.

Stay tuned for additional updates. FDA approved Abrysvo for use during pregnancy to prevent RSV in infants...but official recommendations from CDC are coming.

And nirsevimab-alip (Beyfortus) will be a new monoclonal antibody to prevent RSV in infants and some toddlers.

See our resource, The Basics of Immunization and Vaccines, for help with storage, dispensing, etc.

Key References

  • Melgar M, Britton A, Roper LE, et al. Use of Respiratory Syncytial Virus Vaccines in Older Adults: Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices - United States, 2023. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2023 Jul 21;72(29):793-801.
  • CDC. Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infection (RSV). Older Adults. July 14, 2023. (Accessed August 3, 2023).
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