Communicating With Families About How to Protect Against Fall and Winter Respiratory Viruses

Now is the optimal time to immunize patients against the fall/winter respiratory viruses. Access tips and scripts for speaking with families about immunizations that protect against COVID-19, flu and RSV.

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RSV Overview 

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) causes acute respiratory tract infections in people of all ages and can cause severe illness in infants and children with certain health conditions. Approximately 58,000-80,000 children under the age of 5 and up to 3% of children in their first year of life are hospitalized due to RSV infection each year in the US. Most children will get an RSV infection before the age of 2 years, and approximately 20-30% of children infected will develop a lower respiratory tract infection, such as bronchiolitis or pneumonia. Reinfection is common and is usually less severe than the primary infection.  

In the US, RSV typically circulates from the fall, peaks in December or January and continues through the spring. It is transmitted by direct or close contact with those infected or from touching contaminated surfaces.  

AAP Recommendations

 

RSV Prevention Products  

The following are products to prevent severe RSV infection in children. 

Nirsevimab (Beyfortus) 

A monoclonal antibody product included in the Vaccines for Children Program and offering long-lasting protection and was recently recommended for all infants in the 2023-2024 RSV season.    

Palivizumab (Synagis) 

A short-acting monoclonal antibody product, available since 1998 and recommended for high-risk infants and young children.  

Professional Education Resources

Educating Families about RSV and Nirsevimab

The AAP offers resources to help families better understand the risks for severe RSV disease and the benefits of prevention.  

Podcasts and Voices Blogs

Learn what others are saying. Listen to our podcasts and read our blog posts.

Immunizations Special: RSV, COVID, Pneumococcal Disease, Influenza – Episode 170

In this episode Sean O’Leary, MD, MPH, FAAP, chair of the AAP Committee on Infectious Diseases, joins hosts David Hill, MD, FAAP, and Joanna Parga-Belinkie, MD, FAAP, for an “immunizations omnibus.” He describes newly approved products to protect against RSV, COVID and pneumococcal disease, and he predicts a difficult flu season.  

Pediatrics on Call

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August 29, 2023