New RSV vaccine on the market for adults over 60

CDC recommends two new RSV vaccines for adults.

Older woman speaking with her doctor.
Source: iStock

Respiratory Syncytial Virus, more commonly known as RSV, is a respiratory virus with similar symptoms to the cold but can lead to hospitalization and death in some cases, especially for infants and older adults. RSV is often spread by coughing, sneezing, or coming in direct contact with the virus on a surface, such as a counter or door handle, and then touching your face before washing your hands. For infants, it is often spread when an infected person kisses the face of a child. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), RSV virus can live for several hours on hard surfaces, such as tables or cribs, and those who are infected are typically contagious for 3-8 days.

To help prevent the spread of RSV, the CDC recommends covering coughs and sneezes with something other than your hands, especially if you are having cold-like symptoms, washing hands with water and soap for 20 seconds or more, avoiding close contact with others if you are feeling sick, and cleaning high-touch surfaces in your home, such as phones, door knobs, counters, and remotes.

The CDC also recommends that adults over the age of 60 talk with their health care provider to see if getting the RSV vaccine is right for them. In June of 2023, the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommended that two new vaccines from GSK and Pfizer that protect against RSV be made available to the public, with use beginning in the fall of 2023. According to CDC estimates, RSV causes between 60,000 – 160,000 hospitalizations and 6,000 – 10,000 deaths in older adults each year. Adults over the age of 60 are at the most risk of severe, life-threatening complications from RSV, especially those with weakened immune systems, underlying chronic diseases, or those who live in long-term care facilities.

Where can you find vaccines?

To find a vaccine, check with your primary care physician, local health departments, pharmacies, and clinics. You can also visit to locate a vaccine provider near you.

If you would like to learn more about vaccines, check out Michigan State University Extension’s partnership with the Michigan Vaccine Project to find links to event schedules, podcasts, publications, webinars, and videos relating to vaccine education.

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