October 27, 2023

RSV vaccines now available for patients at Vanderbilt Health clinics

Along with the common cold, influenza, and COVID-19, the fall and winter virus season also usually brings a spike in activity for the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). Like with influenza or COVID, most people who contract RSV develop mild symptoms and recover in a week or two. But some people, mainly older adults and infants, can develop severe complications from RSV and need to be hospitalized.

The first vaccines for RSV were approved by the Food and Drug Administration in May 2023. The following groups of people (or their caregivers) should discuss with their health care provider whether an RSV vaccine is right for them:

  • Adults age 60 and older (Arexvy™)
  • Pregnant people (to be administered between 32 and 36 weeks of pregnancy) (Abrysvo™)
  • Some infants and children 19 months and younger (Beyfortus™)

The new RSV vaccines for adults ages 60 and older are widely available in convenient locations, including retail pharmacies. Many patients can get their RSV vaccine from a Vanderbilt Health clinic, including primary care clinics. With a valid prescription, the RSV vaccine for adults ages 60 and older can also be administered at the Vanderbilt Health Outpatient Pharmacy at The Vanderbilt Clinic or the Vanderbilt Health Pharmacy at One Hundred Oaks. The conditions of a patient’s insurance may determine the best location for them to receive their RSV vaccine.

Employees interested in getting an RSV vaccine can get one through a Vanderbilt Health primary care clinic (if they are a current patient), or with a valid prescription through a Vanderbilt Health or retail pharmacy. The RSV vaccines are currently not available at Occupational Health, though may be in the future.

Because of supply issues, the RSV vaccine for infants and young children remains limited throughout the country. Initially, Vanderbilt Health will restrict its use for infants and toddlers who are at the highest risk for complications from RSV. Parents of infants and children 19 months and younger should speak with their pediatrician to determine if they qualify. The pediatric RSV vaccines are only available to patients in Vanderbilt Health pediatric primary care and select pediatric specialty clinics—they will not be offered in Vanderbilt Health pharmacies.

Pregnant people are advised to discuss the RSV vaccine with their obstetricians or midwives. Babies born to mothers who received the maternal RSV vaccine at least 2 weeks before delivery have protection against severe RSV disease through 6 months of age. The maternal RSV vaccine is only available to patients through our Women’s Health clinics and not administered at any Vanderbilt Health pharmacies.

While vaccination is a very important part of preventing respiratory viral infections, other actions are also important to further reduce risk.  These include washing hands, covering coughs, wearing a mask if you have symptoms, staying home if you are sick, and cleaning frequently touched surfaces. These actions can protect not only you but those around you.

More information on the RSV vaccines is available on the CDC website.