As fall approaches and kids return to school, the number of viral infections are on the rise. Not only are COVID case numbers increasing but we’re seeing an uptick in common cold viruses as well, led by rhinovirus and enterovirus – causing end-of-summer sniffles for many.
We are again hoping to prevent a “tripledemic” with influenza, RSV, and COVID, which are all predicted to circulate through the fall and winter months this year.
As many know by now, RSV vaccines will be available for the first time for those 60 and over, especially those with high-risk medical conditions (heart failure, asthma, or diabetes for example), and also for pregnant women in their third trimester. And we finally have approval for a monoclonal antibody for prevention of RSV in children up to two years of age – a landmark approval for pediatrics. As acute bronchiolitis from RSV is the most common cause of hospitalization in children under age one, this new approval for a preventive drug will no doubt be a lifesaving measure. We are seeing a rise in RSV cases in the Southeast U.S. already; by November, we may expect to have cases cropping up across the country.
Newly reformulated COVID boosters are anticipated to be reviewed on September 12 by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) with approval soon after for distribution by mid-September. Though we expect the booster to be available to all, this approval for the reformulated booster might come with narrower recommendations. We should know soon after the upcoming meeting.