RSV Vaccination May Protect Seniors from Hospitalization
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) today reported that from February 2022–May 2023, hospitalizations for Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) were less frequent but were associated with more severe disease than hospitalizations for influenza or SARS-CoV-2 virus infections.
And there were substantial variations in hospital admissions observed for RSV and influenza, but SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus infection admissions exhibited less seasonal variation.
After exclusions, 5,784 seniors were included in this CDC analysis, among whom 304 (5.3%) were hospitalized with RSV, 4,734 (81.8%) for SARS-CoV-2 infection and 746 (12.9%) with influenza.
Published on October 6, 2023, these findings are consistent with those from earlier studies that compared RSV disease severity among hospitalized adults with influenza disease. Patients hospitalized with RSV disease are more likely to be treated with supplemental oxygen, mechanical ventilation, or ICU admission than those hospitalized with influenza.
Although neither of the two clinical trials that led to U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval of RSV vaccines for older adults was powered to assess the protection of RSV vaccination against hospitalization in seniors, both trials showed moderate to high efficacy of RSV vaccination against lower respiratory tract disease, which is in the causal pathway leading to severe disease.
Although additional studies are needed to assess the protection of these new RSV vaccines against severe respiratory disease in older adults, RSV vaccination can potentially prevent severe respiratory disease and is currently the only approved prevention product available for older adults, says the CDC.
Furthermore, the high RSV disease severity observed among older adults in this analysis is essential to guide decision-making for RSV vaccination in this population.
These discussions should occur in local communities before the 2023-2024 RSV season impacts seniors.