LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — It's that time of year again to start thinking about getting your vaccines heading into flu and Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) season.
Health experts said the new RSV shot could help some of the most high-risk populations.
"In older individuals, that can become serious and lead to hospitalization and death," Arkansas Pharmacists Association's Nicki Hilliard said.
According to Hilliard, RSV isn't something to mess around with, especially for the older population and infants.
But a newly approved RSV vaccine is now available at pharmacies across the state for those 60 and older.
"I'm just hearing from pharmacists that they're getting a lot of calls from older individuals interested in getting the vaccine," Hilliard said.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, RSV causes 60,000 to 160,000 hospitalizations yearly and more than 6,000 deaths annually.
Dr. Rawle Seupaul at UAMS said RSV symptoms are similar for children and adults.
"Adults will really think it's similar to cold or flu," Seupaul said. "Children, especially neonates, and little babies tend to get a little sicker with RSV, and older adults or those with other illnesses can be as sick or sicker."
Seupaul said it's just another reason to consider getting this vaccine in addition to the flu and new COVID shot when it becomes available.
"I highly recommend that if you are immunocompromised or have other significant diseases, you strongly consider getting vaccinated this season," Seupaul said.
Hilliard said pregnant women can also receive the RSV vaccine soon.
"The FDA has approved the Pfizer vaccine for pregnancy... for immunization of pregnant women so they can pass along that immunity to their newborn, which is exciting news," Hilliard said. "Only the Pfizer vaccine will be approved for pregnant women, so we hope it will be here and available about the end of the month."
If you're younger than 60 but immunocompromised, Seupaul recommends talking with your doctor.
According to the CDC, RSV season typically starts in the fall and peaks in the winter. However, in recent years, the virus has started spreading in the summer.