When In Doubt, Ask A Pharmacist

What is RSV and do I need the vaccine?

RSV Virus

I know after all the vaccines for Covid 19, the last thing we needed was another
vaccine our parents/grandparents needed. Listen up though, this virus has always
been with us and causes thousands of deaths and even more hospitalizations every year. So why now with a vaccine? Because enough people have been tested and the need for the vaccine has become prevalent.

RSV test

RSV, or Respiratory Syncytial Virus can only be confirmed by laboratory test. Like the flu. We all have probably had RSV as children and even adults and just
considered we had a case of the common cold.

Symptoms Include:

Runny Nose

Sore Throat


Symptoms Bear


Low Grade Fever

Decreased Appetite

Sound familiar? I know I have had many of these symptoms throughout my life. So then what makes the RSV so worrisome to warrant a vaccine? I believe it comes down to preventable situations. If a single shot can prevent a virus from causing serious secondary infections that may lead to hospitalizations and in some cases death then as a Pharmacist it is my duty to promote the usage of vaccines.

Let us dig a little deeper on what makes the RSV virus go from being a very mild case to serious. It mainly has to do with your overall health and age:

Infants less than 12 months old, especially premature births.

All adults over 65 years of age


Adults with chronic lung or heart disease.

  • Asthma
  • Smoker
  • COPD
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Weakened Immune System

More Serious Symptoms:

While most people recover after one to two weeks, some do not. Rsv can lead to complications such as Pneumonia or Bronchiolitis- inflammation of the small airway passages entering the lung.

High Fever


Bluish Color of Skin


Severe Cough

Rapid Breathing

Difficulty Breathing

If these symptoms occur for anyone please seek medical attention immediately!

How does RSV move in a population? Like most viruses it is airborne and can survive on hard surfaces for hours. An infected person coughing or sneezing near you or you touch a contaminated surface: countertops, handles, toys etc. Also physical contact when you touch your eyes, nose or mouth.

Now that you have the information about RSV, what can you do to prevent infection?

Washing Hands

Wash hands often
Avoid exposure
Do not smoke
Keep hard surfaces clean
Get Vaccinated


What vaccines are available and who should receive them?

Infants under 12 months at high risk, please consult your pediatrician.

Infant Hand

Pregnant women
The RSV vaccine Abrysvo is recommended for women at 32 to 36 gestational
weeks. This will allow the passive immunity to be given to the infant and help prevent
RSV from birth to 6 months.

FDA approved RSV vaccine for people over 60 there are two:
Abrysvo from Pfizer
Arexvy from GSK

Elder Couple

Both are effective and only a single shot for full immunity. Contact your local pharmacy
for product availability.

As a Pharmacist I must recommend the treatments I feel best benefits my community. For a lot of people vaccines are a tough topic. Despite this, the amount of lives saved and depletion of our medical resources can not be counted.

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