Dear USET/USET SPF Family,
This alert is being shared to provide timely information regarding vaccination as a preventative measure prior to the seasonal increase of respiratory viruses. The USET TEC acknowledges a predictable seasonal upward trend in illnesses caused by respiratory viruses. A proactive approach is necessary to protect the health of Tribal communities within our USET region.
Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) is typically seen in the late fall and winter, peaking in January and February, although in 2022 there was a surge of cases in late October. A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Health Alert Network (HAN) Health Advisory was published on September 5, 2023 outlining the increase in RSV activity within the southeastern United States and detailed prevention measures and dosing recommendations for providers. RSV is spread by respiratory droplets and touching contaminated surfaces.
RSV affects all ages and is particularly serious for young infants and older adults. Chronic underlying medical conditions associated with increased risk of severe RSV include diabetes mellitus, lung disease, cardiovascular disease, moderate to severe immunocompromise, and kidney, liver, and hematologic disorders. Other factors that may contribute to increased risk of severe RSV include advanced age, frailty, and residence in assisted living or long-term care facilities.
USET TEC recommends seasonal respiratory vaccines early in the fall season once they become available as an effective prevention measure for those who are eligible- including RSV, seasonal influenza, and COVID-19.
Earlier this year, The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved and the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommended two RSV vaccines (Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals). These single dose vaccinations are recommended for use in adults aged 60 years and older, utilizing shared clinical decision-making. This means that the recommendation to vaccinate is based on a shared decision between the individual and healthcare provider and is not a default recommendation based solely on age.
These vaccinations are set to be distributed in the fall, prior to RSV season. Vaccination is recommended as soon as it becomes available to your healthcare facility. Healthcare providers should continue to offer vaccination to those who are eligible throughout the RSV season. There is an upcoming COCA Call “Preparing for the Upcoming Respiratory Virus Season: Recommendations for Influenza, COVID-19, and RSV Vaccines for Older Adults” on September 19, 2023 at 2 PM ET/1 PM CT and registration information is linked here.
For additional information or for clinical guidance, please see the resources below. The USET TEC is available to assist with any questions or concerns. Please do not hesitate to contact us at email@example.com.