As the fall season approaches and we prepare for the shift to cooler weather, our focus may turn to various tasks to prepare for autumn – whether it involves getting children back to school, thinking about the upcoming holidays, or making our homes ready for the seasonal shift. One additional thing to consider as autumn approaches is getting ready for the approaching respiratory virus season. This year health officials are stressing the importance of vaccinations to prepare for the winter respiratory season which is expected to be intense, particularly following years of unpredictable viral patterns.
This upcoming fall will mark a significant milestone, as three distinct vaccines will be available to counter the most prominent respiratory virus challenges. These include a new COVID booster, the annual flu shot, and two Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) vaccines tailored for older adults. Additionally, a new monoclonal antibody to help prevent RSV is now available for infants. Here is the info we have so far on these preventative measures:
Updated COVID-19 Booster
An updated COVID vaccine is in production and awaiting approval from the Food and Drug Administration by the end of this month. Following approval, the CDC is expected to endorse the vaccine and provide recommendations about who should receive it.
Seasonal Flu Vaccine
New flu shots will be available this fall for the 2023-2024 flu season. Flu season tends to be from Halloween to the end of spring so getting vaccinated early (around September or October) is ideal.
New Preventative Measures Against RSV for the Elderly and Infants
Two RSV vaccines for people ages 60 and older have been approved by the FDA. The CDC recommends that people in this age group talk with their healthcare provider about whether RSV vaccination is right for them. Much like flu, RSV spreads from Halloween to the end of spring so being proactive by addressing this in the next couple of months is your best move.
Additionally, the FDA approved another preventive option, a monoclonal antibody named nirsevimab. This injection is recommended for all infants up to 8 months old (those born during their initial RSV season, as well as those entering it). Additionally, a second dose is recommended for infants within their second season, aged 8 to 19 months, who are at high risk for severe disease. This includes children with severe immunocompromisation. People with infants in these age ranges should check in with their healthcare provider for guidance.
We hope this breakdown is helpful in keeping you informed and we will continue to provide updates as they are available. Wishing you lots of fun and good health as we wrap up the summer season!