Australia's first RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus) vaccine is approved by TGA for over 60s

A vaccine to combat a highly infectious respiratory disease has been approved for use in Australia.

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has said Arexvy can be used as a respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) vaccine for Australians aged 60 and over.

More than 25,000 older Australians were diagnosed with the highly infectious disease last year.

“Older patients see a decline in their immunity due to a phenomenon called immunosenescence, which means they cannot mount a good immune response when they are exposed to the virus,” said a Brisbane GP, Anita Sharma.

RSV is highly contagious and can cause mild to moderate illness in younger people, with symptoms including a runny nose, sore throat, cough, fever, and aches.

Those with low immunity or co-morbidities including diabetes can suffer more serious symptoms resulting in hospitalisation or time in intensive care, according to Dr Sharma.

Arexvy, a protein-based vaccine, boosts the immune response in those more vulnerable patients.

“Such a vaccine will help reduce the serious outcomes from RSV infections in patients who receive the vaccine,” she said.

Arexvy was the first vaccine approved for use against RSV in the US, with the drug allowed in May 2023.

The Immunisation Foundation of Australia said it was important that older Australians had access vaccines that would protect them from serious illness.

“The announcement of an RSV vaccines ... is a success story for medical research,” said a director, Catherine Hughes.

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A special thanks to our contributors

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Journalist

Journalist

Caroline has a wealth of experience writing within the retirement and aged care sector and is a contributing journalist for the Villages.com.au and agedcare101 blog and accompanying newsletters.

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Ian Horswill

Journalist

Ian is a journalist, writer and sub-editor for the aged care sector, working at The DCM Group. He writes for The Weekly Source, agedcare101, villages.com.au and the DCM Institute fortnightly newsletter Friday. Ian is in daily contact with CEOs of retirement living, land lease and the aged care operations and makes a new contact every week. He investigates media releases, LinkedIn and Facebook for a good source for ideas for stories.

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Lauren Broomham

Retirement and Aged Care Journalist

Lauren is a journalist for villages.com.au, agedcare101 and The Donaldson Sisters. Growing up in a big family in small town communities, she has always had a love for the written word, joining her local library at the age of six months. With over eight years' experience in writing and editing, she is a keen follower of news and current affairs with a nose for a good story.

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Jill Donaldson

Physiotherapist

Jill has been practicing as a clinical physiotherapist for 30 years. For the last 13 years she has worked solely in the Aged Care sector in more than 50 metropolitan and regional facilities. Jill has also toured care facilities in the US and Africa and is a passionate advocate for both the residents in aged care and the staff who care for them. She researches and writes for DCM Media.

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Chris Baynes

DCM Media, agedcare101

Chris has been a journalist and publisher in the retirement village and aged care sectors for 11 years. He has visited over 250 retirement villages and 50 aged care facilities both within Australia and internationally. Chris is a regular speaker at industry conferences plus is a frequent radio commentator.

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Annie Donaldson

Nurse and Carer

Annie has a long career in both nursing and the media. She has planned and co-ordinated the medical support from both international TV productions and major stadium events. In recent years she has been a primary family carer plus involved in structured carer support.