United States: On Wednesday, US health officials upgraded their previous recommendation for RSV vaccines for people aged 75 and above, but the recommendation is milder for people between the ages of 60 and seventy-four. 

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The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) adopted the recommendations of an outside committee that produced guidance for the government, which became the doctors’ updated information. 

A year ago, the same advisory group told people 60 and older to discuss with their physicians whether the shots are beneficial to them, as NBC News reported. 

Physicians have stated that such flexibility is incomprehensible to patients and difficult to defend; it has to be the reason why only 25 percent of senior citizens have received the vaccine. 

US Officials Strengthen RSV Vaccine Push for Those 75 and Up. Credit | iStock
US Officials Strengthen RSV Vaccine Push for Those 75 and Up. Credit | iStock

The facility with which the RSV or respiratory Syncytial virus affects is related to cold-like symptoms that, however, prove to be deadly to infants and the elderly, as NBC News reported. 

This past year, the US Food and Drug Administration approved single-dose RSV vaccines from two firms – GSK and Pfizer- for use in elderly people. 

During the same period, the vaccine advisers were not so eager to say all seniors should get the shots due to controversies surrounding possible adverse effects and durability. 

Some of those questions still exist, and panel members on Wednesday shied away from a direct request made by vaccine manufacturers to more strongly recommend the vaccine shots for all Americans who are 60 and older. 

However, they stuck to the plan that only people who are 75 years and above should take the doses, and those who are between 60-74 years should take them only if they were vulnerable to serious outcomes. 

It also refrained from recommending the GSK vaccine to people in their 50s, despite the FDA licensing the company’s shot for applicants in that age bracket this month. 

Any newly approved RSV shot, as for instance the one developed by Moderna, will be under the same guidelines. 

What more have the panel members recommended? 

Members of the panel said that data has also shown that getting the shots makes sense for all people 75 years of age and above as they are more vulnerable to severe cases of RSV. 

For people 60 years and over, the comorbidities defining those at higher risk of severe illness include chronic heart disease, stage 3 and 4 kidney disease, chronic lung diseases, intestinal and other metabolic diseases, including severe obesity. 

Some 39 percent of that population would meet the letter of that guideline if one follows the strict interpretation of it, the CDC spokespeople added. 

The committee also suggested the vaccine for persons 60-74 years with other underlying health conditions reside in nursing homes or as determined to be frail by a physician. 

According to one of the panel members, Dr. Camille Kotton, an infectious diseases expert at Massachusetts General Hospital, “I do agree with the overall conclusion that the risks of RSV vaccination are greatly outweighed by the overall benefits,” as NBC News reported. 

She added, “Nonetheless, I remain quite concerned” regarding the repeated indicators of Guillain-Barre in vaccination surveillance data. 

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