RSV Vaccine Side Effects in Older Adults
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RSV Vaccine Side Effects in Older Adults

Respiratory syncytial virus

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a common respiratory virus that can cause mild to severe illness, particularly in children and older adults. It is a leading cause of bronchiolitis (inflammation of the small airways in the lungs) and pneumonia in infants and can also result in severe respiratory illness in older adults. With the development of the RSV vaccine, there’s hope for better protection. However, like any medical intervention, it’s important to understand potential side effects. Here, we’ll explore what older adults might expect from the RSV vaccine.

Types of RSV Vaccines and Who Should Receive Them

There are currently two RSV vaccines approved for use in adults aged 60 years and older:

  • Arexvy (GSK adjuvanted RSV vaccine)
  • Abrysvo (Pfizer RSV vaccine).

These vaccines are intended to reduce the risk of severe respiratory illness caused by RSV in this age group. Arexvy, developed by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), is an adjuvanted vaccine that helps enhance the immune response to RSV. Abrysvo, developed by Pfizer, is another RSV vaccine approved for older adults, providing protection against RSV infection.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that adults aged 60 years and older may receive RSV vaccination, considering shared clinical decision-making with their healthcare provider. This means that the decision to get vaccinated should be based on an individual’s specific health situation, risks, and benefits as discussed with their healthcare provider.

It’s important to note that these vaccines are primarily intended for older adults and may not be available or recommended for other age groups. For infants, the CDC recommends either maternal RSV vaccination or infant immunization with RSV monoclonal antibody to prevent severe RSV disease in this age group.

It is always best to consult with a healthcare professional to determine if the RSV vaccine is appropriate for a specific individual, as they are in the best position to provide personalized advice based on a person’s medical history and current health condition

What Is Side Effects of RSV Vaccine?

What Is Side Effects of RSV Vaccine

When taking medication, it’s important to be aware of both its intended effects and potential side effects. While not everyone experiences side effects, it’s crucial to know what to look out for and when to seek medical help.

Contact your doctor or nurse immediately if you experience any of these less common side effects of RSV vaccine:

  • Blurred vision
  • Dizziness
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Nervousness
  • Pounding in the ears
  • Abnormal heartbeat (either slow or fast)

In rare cases, you may experience these symptoms of RSV vaccine for which the frequency is not known:

  • Tightness in the chest
  • Cough
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Fainting
  • Hives, itching, or skin rash
  • Swelling of the eyelids, face, lips, or tongue
  • Unusual tiredness or weakness

Some side effects don’t typically require medical attention and may disappear as your body adjusts to the medicine. Your healthcare professional can offer advice on how to prevent or minimize these effects. However, consult with them if the following more common side effects persist or become bothersome:

  • Bleeding
  • Blistering
  • Burning
  • Coldness
  • Discoloration
  • Feeling of pressure
  • Hives
  • Infection
  • Inflammation
  • Itching
  • Lumps
  • Numbness
  • Pain
  • Rash
  • Redness
  • Scarring
  • Soreness
  • Stinging
  • Swelling
  • Tenderness
  • Tingling
  • Ulceration
  • Warmth
  • Diarrhea
  • Joint pain
  • Muscle pain

Less commonly, you might experience:

  • Nausea

In rare instances:

  • Vomiting

Remember, this is not an exhaustive list. If you notice any other effects, it’s important to consult with your healthcare professional. They can provide more specific guidance tailored to your individual health needs.

Can You Get the RSV Vaccine at the Same Time as Other Vaccines?

It is generally possible to receive the RSV vaccine alongside other vaccines. However, it’s important to be aware that receiving the RSV vaccine at the same time as other vaccines may potentially result in increased side effects. It is recommended to have a discussion with your healthcare provider to determine the best approach for your specific healthcare needs. Your healthcare provider will be able to provide guidance on whether receiving the RSV vaccine together with other vaccines is appropriate in your case.

Where Can You Get the RSV Vaccine?

The RSV vaccine can be obtained at various locations such as pharmacies, clinics, and local health departments. It is important to ensure that the healthcare provider or pharmacy where you plan to receive the vaccine is able to bill your Medicare Part D plan to avoid any billing issues.

Please note that availability and specific locations may vary. It is recommended to contact your healthcare provider or utilize online resources to find the nearest locations offering the RSV vaccine.

Sources

1. Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) Vaccine & Older Adults – ND Health and Human Services (.gov)

2. Respiratory Syncytial Virus Vaccine (Intramuscular Route) – Mayo Clinic

3. RSV Vaccination for Older Adults 60 Years of Age and Over – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 

4. Frequently Asked Questions About RSV Vaccine for Adults – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (.gov)

5. RSV vaccines: Questions patients may have and how to answer – American Medical Association

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