Doctors recommend RSV vaccine before holiday season

Doctors recommend RSV vaccine before holiday season
Published: Nov. 20, 2023 at 8:15 AM CST
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) - It’s time for many to get together, kiss, hug, handshake, and/or share utensils, but the CDC asks people to be aware of the infection spreading.

The CDC reports an estimated 58,000 to 80,000 children younger than five years old are hospitalized due to the infection each year.

Kids can qualify for a vaccine after being born or pregnant mothers can get it to pass antibodies down to their children during the pregnancy process.

There are plenty of things you can do on the day-to-day to be safe.

University Health Infectious Disease Pharmacist, Sayo Weihs, PharmD, said, “If anyone is sick, stay at home, if you are out and about make sure you wash your hands after you’ve been anywhere and make sure you don’t touch your eyes, your mouth, your nose, and those mucus membranes before you wash your hands.”

It takes simple steps to make sure it doesn’t: Stay at home when sick, cover your nose and mouth when sneezing with your shirt sleeve and not your hands, wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, and clean frequently touched surfaces (doorknobs and phones/tablets).

The common respiratory virus causes mild, cold-like symptoms with infants and seniors around 65 and up most likely to catch it. Most people recover in a week or two but RSV can be serious as symptoms start showing within 4-6 days of being infected.

Symptoms include runny nose, fever, sneezing, wheezing, and a decrease in appetite.

“It’s very difficult to distinguish between RSV to any other cold going around the community to influenza, COVID, there are so many things going around. It is difficult because some of those symptoms definitely overlap and so the best way is to go get tested,” said Weihs.

Doctors suggest getting a vaccine as soon as possible as it takes about two weeks for the antibodies to travel through your body. It takes about two weeks for your body to build up the maximum amount of antibodies needed to fight it off. It may not be 100% by Thanksgiving on Thursday, but the process will already be halfway complete by the first of December.

Older adults are at higher risk for serious complications from the infection because immune systems weaken as people get older. Underlying medical conditions may increase the risk of serious sicknesses – like COPD and asthma.

The CDC is scrambling to address a shortage of the vaccine for children as the agency has announced that more than 77,000 doses of the vaccine will be distributed immediately to help. Those emergency doses will be going to doctor’s offices and hospitals through the CDC’s Vaccines for Children program.

The shortage emerged from high demand from parents and pediatricians. The CDC recommended the new vaccine for infants under eight months of age and certain high-risk toddlers up to age two. In the meantime, federal health officials are recommending physicians prioritize the vaccine for infants at the highest risk of RSV.

READ MORE: Supplies limited for some new RSV shots, CDC advises