The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, a panel of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has recommended that the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) vaccine be included in the list of recommended vaccines for all Americans aged 65 and over.
The panel voted 9-5 in favor of the recommendation, which also includes adults aged 60 and older based on individual needs and medical advise.
RSV is a common respiratory virus that affects almost everyone by the age of 2, usually causing cold symptoms.
It can be severe in newborns and young children, and can hospitalizations. According to data from the CDC, between 58,000 and 80,000 hospitalizations occur annually among children under 5 years of age due to RSV.
However, to put that in perspective, millions of children under the age of 5 are hospitalized each year due to various reasons and pediatric hospitalizations have been declining in recent years. Between 2004 and 2019, the number and rate of inpatient stays for children aged 0–17 years decreased by 20%, according to data from the U.S. government.
Before the RSV vaccines can be made widely available, the panel’s recommendation must be endorsed by the director of the CDC, which almost always occurs.
But this decision by the panel was not decisive. The vote falls short of the agreement the panel made last year on a vote to include Covid-19 vaccinations to the 2023 child, adolescent, and adult immunization schedule. That vote was unanimous.
The panel did not reveal why over one-third of its membership vote against adding the RSV vaccinations to the older adult schedule.