Respiratory viruses commonly cause illness such as flu, COVID-19 et respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), especially in the fall and winter. The Tulsa Health Departments reminds residents to take preventive measures to stay safe and healthy.
What Is RSV?
Respiratory syncytial (sin-SISH-uhl) virus, or RSV, is a common respiratory virus that usually causes mild, cold-like symptoms. However, it can be dangerous for babies, toddlers and older adults and lead to serious illness or hospitalization.
For others who are less likely to get a severe RSV illness, everyday preventive actions can reduce the likelihood of spreading RSV. Most people recover in a week or two, but RSV can be serious. Infants and older adults are more likely to develop severe RSV and need hospitalization.
RSV Vaccine for Certain Populations
Preventive options such as immunizations help protect certain groups at high risk of severe RSV. FDA-approved immunizations are available to protect you from severe RSV. Talk to your healthcare provider to see if it’s right for you.
- If you are pregnant, you can get an RSV vaccine between 32–36 weeks of pregnancy to protect your infant after birth.
- Infants younger than 8 months who are born during or entering the RSV season, and for some children age 8 through 19 months who are at increased risk for severe RSV disease and entering their second RSV season can receive a preventive immunization.
- If you are age 60 or older, a vaccine is available to protect you from severe RSV.
What RSV vaccines are available at THD?
THD is offering RSV vaccines to certain at-risk population groups at this time. Please keep checking back throughout this season for updates on vaccine status.
- Adults: THD is offering the Abrysvo vaccine approved for adults age 60 and up. It is also recommended for pregnant people 32 through 36 weeks of pregnancy.
- Infants: THD is offering the Nirsevimab (Beyfortus) vaccine approved for for infants younger than 8 months and for some children age 8 through 19 months, but only to children eligible to receive vaccines through the Vaccines for Children (VFC) program*. A limited supply of vaccine is available for clients who private pay or have private insurance. Due to the limited supply, please call the clinic before your appointment to confirm the availability of the vaccine. Infants must be accompanied by their parent or guardian to receive immunizations.
- THD is also offering the updated flu and COVID-19 vaccines that can be done in the same visit.
*Vaccines for Children (VCF) program provides immunizations to children through age 18 years at no charge if any of the following apply: they are uninsured, Medicaid eligible, Native American Indian, Native Alaskan or their insurance policy does not cover vaccines.
Everyday Preventive Measures to Limit the Spread of RSV
You can take everyday prevention measures to help reduce the spread of RSV and other respiratory illnesses.
- Stay home when sick.
- Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue or your shirt sleeve, not your hands.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Avoid touching your face with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with others, such as kissing, shaking hands, and sharing cups and eating utensils.
- Clean frequently touched surfaces such as doorknobs and mobile devices.