RSV vaccine recommended for pregnant women, infants and seniors. Here's what to know

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With the fall respiratory virus season beginning, the Illinois Department of Public Health is urging RSV shots for pregnant women, infants and seniors across the state in accordance with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

IDPH on Friday endorsed a recommendation by the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices that approved the RSV vaccine for women between 32 to 36 weeks of pregnancy. The recommendation months after the committee endorsed shots for people over 60, infants up to 8 months old and toddlers deemed to be at high risk.

Along with getting vaccinated against RSV, IDPH is advising Illinois residents to consider getting updated COVID and flu shots to prevent a "tripledemic" of respiratory viruses, which occurred last year. Updated COVID boosters, formulated to target the omicron called XBB.1.5., rolled out to pharmacies, doctors offices and health departments in mid-September following a recommendation by ACIP.

"...The good news is that we now have vaccines available for the three respiratory viruses – COVID-19, RSV and flu – that were responsible for 2022’s tripledemic," IDPH director, Dr. Sameer Vohra, said in a news release. "These new and updated vaccines are powerful tools that can protect you and your loved ones by helping preventing hospitalizations and severe health outcomes.”

The CDC committee has urged everyone eligible, those six months and older, to get the updated booster shots as soon as possible. According to IDPH, the recently-approved COVID shots are considered safe when given at the same time as other vaccines for the flu and RSV.

The CDC on Sept. 14 launched the Bridge Access Program, which provides free coverage for the estimated 25-30 million a]underinsured or uninsured adults who would have otherwise lost access to affordable COVID-19 vaccines. While doses may be available in some cases, the program is still being rolled out at pharmacies, medical providers and community health centers.

Distribution was set to ramp up in the weeks following the program's launch.

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