A Guide to Seasonal Vaccines
Each year, respiratory infections like the flu, RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) and COVID-19 hospitalize and/or kill tens of thousands of people in the U.S. Thankfully, there are ways to protect yourself and your family!
We’ll kick off flu vaccine season on Friday, September 15 with our annual Flu Vaccine Clinic! No appointment is necessary. Vaccines will be offered Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Influenza (flu) is a potentially serious disease that can lead to hospitalization and sometimes even death. Every flu season is different, and flu can affect people differently, but during typical flu seasons, millions of people get flu, hundreds of thousands of people are hospitalized and thousands to tens of thousands of people die from flu-related causes. Flu can mean a few days of feeling bad and missing work, school, or family events, or it can result in more serious illness. Complications of flu can include bacterial pneumonia, ear infections, sinus infections and worsening of chronic medical conditions, such as congestive heart failure, asthma, or diabetes.
An annual seasonal flu vaccine is the best way to help reduce the risk of getting flu and any of its potentially serious complications. Vaccination has been shown to have many benefits including reducing the risk of flu illnesses, hospitalizations and even the risk of flu-related death. While some people who get a flu vaccine may still get sick with influenza, flu vaccination has been shown in several studies to reduce severity of illness.
Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV)
Respiratory syncytial (sin-SISH-uhl) virus, or RSV, is a common respiratory virus that usually causes mild, cold-like symptoms. Most people recover in a week or two, but RSV can be serious. Infants and older adults are more likely to develop sever RSV and need hospitalization. Vaccines are available to protect older adults from severe RSV. Monoclonal antibody products are available to protect infants and young children from severe RSV.
RSV (Respiratory Syncytal Virus) Vaccine for Adults:
This year, there is an RSV vaccine available for adults. Older adults are at greater risk than young adults for serious complications from RSV because immune systems weaken with age. In addition, certain underlying medical conditions may increase the risk of getting very sick from RSV and older adults with heart or lung disease, weakened immune systems or those living in nursing homes or long-term care facilities, may especially benefit from getting RSV vaccine. If you are 60 years and older, talk to your healthcare provider to see if RSV vaccination is right for you.
Please talk to your primary care physician or local pharmacy about the adult RSV vaccine or monoclonal antibody products for children.
Monoclonal Antibody Products that Protect Children from Severe RSV:
Two monoclonal antibody products – nirsevimab (Beyfortus) and palivizumab (Synagis) – can help protect babies and young children from severe disease from an RSV infection. Monoclonal antibodies are not vaccines. They provide an extra layer of defense that helps fight RSV infections and protect children from getting very sick. The protection these antibodies provide wanes over time. These products are not treatments for a child who already has RSV infection.
Nirsevimab is recommended for all infants who are younger than 8 months and born during – or entering – their first RSV season (typically fall through spring). One dose of nirsevimab can protect infants for 5 months, the length of an average RSV season. A dose of nirsevimab is also recommended for some children between the ages of 8 and 19 months who are at high risk of severe RSV, such as children who are severely immunocompromised, and who are entering their second RSV season.
Palivizumab is limited to children under 24 months of age with certain conditions that place them at high risk for severe RSV disease. It must be given once a month during RSV season.
CDC recommends all children younger than 8 months receive nirsevimab to protect them in their first RSV season. If your child is at increased risk for severe RSV disease, talk to their doctor to determine if additional doses of monoclonal antibodies are recommended for your child (aged 8 to 19 months) as they enter their second RSV season.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the following:
- Everyone aged 6 years and older should get 1 updated COVID-19 vaccine to be up to date.
- People aged 65 and older may get a second dose of the updated vaccine.
- People who are moderately or severely immunocompromised may get additional doses of the vaccine.
- Children aged 6 months-5 years may need multiple doses of the vaccine to be up to date, so be sure to talk with your pediatrician.
While a new COVID-19 vaccine is under review with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), there is still no news on when a new vaccine will be made ready for the public.