Next fall’s vaccines for seniors will be triple: influenza, coronavirus and… syncytial virus

The siege against respiratory viruses typical of autumn and winter is intensifying. If by 2019 only the elderly and the most vulnerable are required to receive the flu vaccine, and now for some time Covid vaccination has been increased, This fall, the cocktail will include a new vaccine: respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), leading to pneumonia, complications of asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or bronchial disease in adults. This type of health problem causes many serious illnesses every year, especially in the elderly population, leading to decompensation of preexisting conditions and even ultimately leading to a large number of deaths.

As this newspaper reports, this fall and winter has brought good news: cases of bronchiolitis in children have dropped significantly, thanks to babies being immunized for the first time against the same type of RSV that is currently being targeted. adults. In Asturias, this action has had very favorable results: 97% coverage for babies under six months of age.The consequence is Emergency services and even hospitalizations have dropped significantly.. Antibodies should be used in children. In older people, where respiratory syncytial virus can cause other types of damage besides bronchiolitis, the vaccine itself will be given.

The exact opposite happened with bronchiolitis in influenza vaccination campaigns for children under five. Flu vaccine coverage in the 6 to 59-month age group barely reached 30% because the new plan did not provide necessary information support for families, which experts considered a complete failure.

As this newspaper has learned from professional sources, RSV infection often causes a cold or mild illness in people with no underlying health conditions. However, in older adults or immunocompromised people, they can cause death. The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has approved two vaccines for people aged 60 and over. So far, only one of them has been approved in Spain. The source said the vaccine could also be given to pregnant women “not so much to protect them as to protect the baby.” The expert added that “we are faced with an additional tool to protect newborns” because they also acquire antibodies once they enter the world. The RSV vaccine for adults awaiting approval in Spain is only suitable for people aged 60 and over and not for pregnant women.

There are two basic types of respiratory syncytial virus: type A and type B.. Some of these usually begin circulating just after the summer, as the start of the flu. Therefore, experts estimate that the vaccine should be administered in September. Because it is a pathogen that does not typically mutate, it is not expected to have the hassle of designing a different vaccine every year, as is the case with influenza. On paper, it’s protective for at least two seasons, although its defensive efficiency will drop in the second season.

medium intensity viral wave

This autumn and winter, between 100,000 and 120,000 Asturians visited health centers with acute respiratory infections (ARI). We must add those who go directly to hospital emergency services and those who suffer from flu, coronavirus or other illnesses without medical help. Experts understand that the impact of respiratory illnesses this season has been moderate, both in terms of frequency and severity of cases.

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