A new vaccine has been approved for respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) by Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration, with it expected to be available in the coming months.
Australian adults over the age of 60 will have access to the vaccine — which will be available through “private prescription” at a doctor’s office — at a cost to the patient.
WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE: Dr Ginni Mansberg speaks about a new TGA-approved RSV vaccine.
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RSV causes infections of the lungs and respiratory tract and can be severe for babies, the elderly, or immunocompromised people.
According to NSW Health, symptoms of the virus include a runny nose, cough, wheezing, difficult breathing, and fever.
Despite RSV being most associated with babies and young children, more than 25,000 adults over the age of 60 were diagnosed with the virus in 2023, according to a Guardian report, with many of them susceptible to serious complications.
The protein-based vaccine, called AREXVY, was developed by GSK Australia, and is designed to prevent infection.
Dr Ginni Mansberg spoke to Matt Doran on Sunrise on Wednesday, after the Therapeutic Goods Administration approved a new vaccine for the RSV virus. Credit: Seven
Patients will need just a one shot schedule for now. However, doctors haven’t ruled out the need for a booster in the future.
Experts are warning it could be a defence against a “tripledemic”, which comprises a new emerging COVID-19 wave, the flu, and RSV.
Appearing on Sunrise on Wednesday, Dr Ginni Mansberg said the vaccine was expected to be rolled out before winter, but it would be at a cost.
“In terms of the cost — they haven’t exactly revealed it — but I understand it will be somewhere between the $200 and $300 mark,” she said.
“(The cost) will be per vaccine but there’s only going to be one (shot) — so you’re only going to have to do it once,” she added.
Ginni admitted the cost was expensive and could be “prohibitive,” for some people amid the current cost-of-living crisis.
“For now, you’ll be going to get it from your pharmacist or GP, and they won’t stock it if no-one wants it.
“So I think there will be a little dance to see what the market looks like — so it will be easier to get the more people that want it.”
Dr Mansberg said side effects would be mild, with a “sore arm” or “fever” expected.
“Kids get it (RSV) but they tend to bounce back (very quickly). But with adults, particularly sicker adults and elderly over 60, it can actually kill people.
“It (looks) like a small thing, like a cold or a flu, but it turns into something major (for the elderly). They are who we really want to protect first,” she finished.