RSV in Older Adults and Adults with Chronic Medical Conditions

RSV immunizations are recommended only for these groups:

  • Adults ages 60 and older: Two RSV vaccines (GSK Arexvy and Pfizer Abrysvo) have been licensed by FDA and recommended by CDC for adults ages 60 and older, using shared clinical decision-making.
  • Pregnant women: One RSV vaccine (Pfizer Abrysvo) has been licensed and recommended during weeks 32 through 36 of pregnancy to protect infants.
  • Infants and some young children: An RSV preventive antibody has been licensed and recommended for infants and some young children.

RSV infections can be dangerous for certain adults. Each year, it is estimated that between 60,000-160,000 older adults in the United States are hospitalized and 6,000-10,000 die due to RSV infection. Adults at highest risk for severe RSV infection include:

  • Older adults
  • Adults with chronic heart or lung disease
  • Adults with weakened immune systems
  • Adults with certain other underlying medical conditions
  • Adults living in nursing homes or long-term care facilities
An RSV vaccine protects against serious disease

A single dose of an RSV vaccine can help protect adults aged 60 years and older from getting very sick from RSV. Talk to your healthcare provider to see if vaccination is right for you. If you haven’t yet received a dose and you decide with your healthcare provider to get one, the best time to get vaccinated is in late summer and early fall before RSV usually starts to spread in the community. This timing ensures you’re protected by the time RSV starts to spread in your community and ensures you get maximum protection during the winter months.

If you are eligible for an RSV vaccine, you can get it at the same time you get other recommended vaccines, such as flu or COVID-19 vaccines. For information about where to find vaccines in your area, visit Vaccine Information for Adults | Where to Find Adult Vaccines | CDC.

Severe RSV

When an adult gets an RSV infection, they typically have mild cold-like symptoms, but some may develop a lung infection or pneumonia.

RSV can sometimes also lead to worsening of serious conditions such as:

  • Asthma
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) – a chronic disease of the lungs that makes it hard to breathe
  • Congestive heart failure – when the heart can’t pump enough blood and oxygen through the body

Adults 60 and older who are at increased risk include those with certain chronic medical conditions, those who are elderly or frail, and those living in nursing homes. Older adults who get very sick from RSV may need to be hospitalized. Some may even die.

CDC’s Respiratory Virus Guidance provides actions you can take to protect yourself and others from health risks caused by RSV and other respiratory viruses.

Fact sheet - Older Adults are at High Risk for Severe RSV Infection.

Older Adults Are at High Risk for Severe RSV Illness

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