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Moderna: RSV vaccine is 84% effective in older adults

Posted at 4:19 PM, Jan 18, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-18 18:00:54-05

(WXYZ) — Moderna says its investigational RSV vaccine is 84% effective at preventing symptoms in adults ages 60 and older.

Moderna’s data comes from a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study that’s considered the gold standard. Roughly 37,000 adults from 22 countries, including the United States, were enrolled. All participants were at least 60 years of age and older.

Now, Moderna says that its vaccine — called MRNA-1345 — was 83.7% effective at preventing lower respiratory tract disease. That was defined as two or more symptoms. Plus, it was 82.4% effective at preventing lower respiratory tract disease; that’s defined as three or more symptoms.

So, what symptoms might a person suffer from if they contract RSV? Well, you can develop a fever, coughing, wheezing, runny nose, sneezing and lack of appetite. Now, you might think that none of those sound all that bad, so why do we need a vaccine?

The reality is that some older adults can develop a lung infection or pneumonia. RSV can also worsen conditions like asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and congestive heart failure. These folks can end up very sick and need to be hospitalized.

In fact, every year, roughly 60,000 to 120,000 people are hospitalized and some of them unfortunately die. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, between 6,000 and 10,000 people die annually due to RSV.

Moderna’s RSV vaccine uses the same messenger RNA technology as their COVID-19 shots, which we know can cause very rare cases of myocarditis, a type of heart inflammation. But there’s been no safety concerns throughout the RSV clinical trial, according to Moderna, and that includes myocarditis.

Overall, the vaccine was found to be safe. Common side effects were pain at the injection site, which is quite normal when you get a shot, and fatigue and headache.

Moderna plans to publish its safety and efficacy data from the trial soon and submit its vaccine for Food and Drug Administation approval in the first half of 2023.

In my opinion, this is all good news because right now, there’s no approved RSV vaccine. However, it’s quite possible that this year, we could see more than one RSV vaccine approved by the FDA as two other companies, Pfizer and GSK, also have promising results from late-stage RSV vaccine trials.

Even though RSV cases may have peaked early, CDC data shows hospitalization rates for RSV remain higher than some peaks from previous seasons.

So please try to avoid getting sick by washing your hands often, covering coughs and sneezes and frequently cleaning touched surfaces.