RSV, flu & COVID-19: Who can receive the vaccine trifecta?


COLUMBIA, Tenn. — Americans now have access to vaccines for the three viruses responsible for the country’s most hospitalizations.

For the first time, a vaccine for respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is available this year for some Americans, joining the annual flu and updated COVID-19 vaccines to make a trifecta of protection against these respiratory viruses.

“We have the most tools at our disposal that we’ve ever had to fight these viruses,” said Christina Lannom, DO, chief medical officer for Maury Regional Health. “We recommend discussing the vaccines with your primary care physician and protecting yourself and your family against COVID-19, RSV and flu.”

COVID-19 vaccine

Updated COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna are available and recommended by the CDC for everyone 5 years of age and older who haven’t received a COVID-19 vaccine in the past two months. Children 6 months to 4 years of age need multiple doses to be up to date.

The updated vaccine is essential to being fully protected since protection from COVID-19 vaccines declines over time and the virus is ever-changing.

According to the CDC, most Americans can still receive the COVID-19 vaccine from pharmacies participating in the CDC’s Bridge Access Program.

RSV vaccine and nirsevimab

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the first time approved two RSV vaccines for adults 60 and older this spring, then followed shortly after with approval for pregnant women. The FDA also approved nirsevimab, a one-dose, long-acting monoclonal antibody, for all infants 8 months or younger entering their first RSV season.

The CDC recommends all adults 60 and older receive a single-dose RSV vaccine, especially those with certain chronic medical conditions such as heart disease, lung disease and immunocompromising conditions and those living in nursing homes or other long-term care facilities.

“Our immune systems weaken as we age, which is why our older population is more susceptible to serious complications from RSV. That’s why the vaccine is so important for seniors,” Dr. Lannom said.

Pregnant women who receive the single-dose RSV vaccine between weeks 32 and 36 of their pregnancy transfer added protection against RSV to their infants for their first 6 months of life, according to the CDC. Infants can also receive a one-dose nirsevimab injection, which is a long-acting monoclonal antibody that helps reduce the risk of severe RSV for at least five months.


The CDC recommends everyone 6 months and older get a flu vaccine every year with rare exceptions, particularly those who are at higher risk of serious complications from influenza.

This annual shot is designed to target the strains of the influenza virus that are expected to be most prevalent each year. Since there are many strains of the virus, a flu shot doesn’t guarantee you won’t get the flu, but it makes it more likely you won’t — or that your symptoms won’t be as severe if you do.

“It’s best if you receive a flu vaccine in September or October just as the peak season is beginning so you’re fully protected at the proper time. It usually takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop,” Dr. Lannom said.

Consult your physician if you have any questions about the vaccines. Also, remember the everyday actions you can take to protect yourself and your loved ones from these viruses: wash your hands regularly with soap and water, cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze, avoid contact with those who are sick and stay home if you’re sick.

Insurance coverage for vaccines may vary based on your plan. Contact your insurance provider to learn more.

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