Survey Shows Seniors Have Interest in RSV Vaccine


Poll conducted by University of Michigan had a majority of people wanting to know more about it.

In a new poll released today, a majority of seniors surveyed were interested in the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) vaccine. Asked how interested they were in getting vaccinated, 21% of respondents said they were very interested, and another 43% said they’re somewhat interested.

“As we prepare for the first RSV season when a vaccine will be available for older adults, these early data suggest a need for public health officials, primary care providers, pharmacies and others to target their outreach and awareness-building efforts,” said Preeti Malani, MD, senior advisor to the poll who has training in geriatrics as well as infectious disease and is a physician at Michigan Medicine, U-M’s academic medical center.

The poll was administered July 17 through August 7. In the poll 1850 people aged 60 to 80 answered the question about awareness of the RSV vaccine, and 1817 of those respondents also answered the question about interest in receiving it.

The poll is based at the U-M Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation, and supported by AARP and Michigan Medicine.

FDA Approved Vaccines
Currently, there are 2 vaccines FDA approved for seniors. Back in May, the federal agency approved GSK’s adjuvanted RSV vaccine Arexvy for older adults. Arexvy (RSVPreF3 +AS01E) was approved to prevent lower respiratory tract disease (LRTD) caused by RSV in adults 60 years and older.

In June, the FDA approved Pfizer's bivalent RSV prefusion F (RSVpreF) vaccine for individuals aged 60 years and older to prevent lower respiratory tract disease caused by RSV.

With these approvals, both companies are manufacturing vaccines and working with pharmacies, hospitals, and providers to make them available to the public.

Public Awareness
One of the challenges is making the public aware of these new vaccines. Earlier this year, GSK launched its national health education campaign titled, Sideline RSV, to educate the public about RSV. The company partnered with former NBA player, Earvin “Magic” Johnson, to be a spokesperson for the campaign. Not only is he well-known for being a great basketball player and public figure, Johnson has lived for over 30 years with HIV. And at 63 years old, he is in the target demographic for those who need to be aware of RSV risks in seniors.

“My health is a top priority, yet like so many others, I was unaware that older adults are one of the highest risk groups for severe RSV infection, no matter how healthy they feel,” Johnson said in a statement. “Throughout my life, I’ve learned the importance of staying up-to-date on potential health risks that come with aging.”

And public awareness was reflective in the amount of interest according to the University of Michigan survey. “We found an association between awareness and interest, with 68% of those who had heard of the vaccine saying they were very interested or somewhat interested in getting vaccinated, compared with 60% who hadn’t heard of the vaccine until asked by the poll team,” Malani said.

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