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FDA approves first RSV vaccine for older adults

A doctor at UAMS says he's glad an extra layer of protection will soon be available for his patients.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — The FDA announced the approval of the first RSV vaccine for older adults on Wednesday, a development health professionals see as a positive step toward solving a decades-old issue.

“They did a large study called a phase three randomized control trial," UAMS Dr. Anand Venkara said. "They enrolled almost 25,000 people throughout the world."

Venkata said the outcome of the study showed just how much of an impact this medical milestone will have.

“In the study, they showed that the decrease in the incidence of lower respiratory tract infection was about 83%," Venkata said. "Not only that, but the incidence of severe infection, where they kind of ended up in the hospital or needed oxygen or been on a ventilator, was decreased by up to 94%."

The vaccine is specifically for adults over the age of 60, which Venkata said is a vulnerable population.

“Over 10,000 older adults get severe infections with significantly poor outcomes, including the risk of death in a year,” Venkata said. “That's kind of where our mortality rate from RSV infection lies.”

The vaccine could come with some side effects, but he said they’re nothing out of the ordinary.

“The biggest side effects that they saw over [was] pain, a little bit of fever," Venkata said. "Both of them were transient and went away within a day or two."

Venkata said he's glad an extra layer of protection will soon be available for his patients.

“Now we're able to say you know what, take a vaccine," Venkata said. "It's a very good effective preventive strategy... significantly reduces your risk of catching an infection."

A CDC approval for the vaccine is expected in June, but it will take a few months until it's rolled out to the public.

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