RSV vaccines can effectively protect older adults’ health

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A new study by Case Western Reserve School of Medicine has brought promising news for individuals aged 60 and over regarding respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) vaccines.

This study, published in Clinical Infectious Diseases, highlights the significant potential of RSV vaccines in reducing illness and death among older adults in the United States.

The study focused on two recently approved RSV vaccines, Arexy and Abrysvo. RSV, a common respiratory virus, usually causes mild symptoms but can be severe for older adults and infants.

The CDC estimates that RSV results in 60,000 to 160,000 hospitalizations and 6,000 to 10,000 deaths annually in adults aged 65 and over. As of December 1, only 14.8% of people aged 60 or older in the U.S. have received an RSV vaccine.

The research team, led by Professor Alison Galvani of Yale School of Public Health, developed a model to evaluate the impact of RSV vaccines on adults aged 60 and above.

They analyzed various outcomes, including the incidence of cases needing outpatient, inpatient, and intensive care, and the mortality rate in hospitalized patients. They also calculated the medical care costs and lost productivity associated with these outcomes.

The study’s findings are encouraging. With 66% vaccine coverage—comparable to typical influenza vaccination rates for adults aged 65 or older—outpatient care could be reduced by 41.4% to 53.6%, hospitalizations by 57.6% to 60.5%, and RSV-related deaths by 58.5% to 60.4%.

If coverage increases to 100%, these numbers improve significantly, with outpatient care, hospitalizations, and deaths reducing even further.

The cost-effectiveness of these vaccines also stands out. The maximum cost-effective price per dose for one season at 66% coverage was calculated between $118 to $127, with only a slight increase for 100% coverage.

The annual cost savings from vaccination make the program economically viable, costing the U.S. healthcare system $6.4 to $7.1 billion for one season at 66% coverage and $9.7 to $10.7 billion at 100% coverage.

Seyed Moghadas, a professor at York University and the paper’s first author, suggests that more data in the next couple of years will enhance the understanding of these vaccines’ effectiveness.

The study underscores the importance of accessibility and affordability of these vaccines, especially given the current coverage by private insurers and Medicare.

Galvani hopes that the findings will influence decision-makers to recognize the health and economic benefits of making RSV vaccines widely accessible to everyone over 60.

The potential for these vaccines to protect against RSV for two seasons only adds to their value, further emphasizing the need for broad accessibility and adoption.

If you care about health, please read studies about Vitamin D deficiency linked to severe COVID-19, and how diets could help manage post-COVID syndrome.

For more information about health, please see recent studies about new evidence on rare blood clots after COVID-19 vaccination, and results showing zinc could help reduce COVID-19 infection risk.

The research findings can be found in Clinical Infectious Diseases.

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