Image
Beyfortus

Infants and Seniors Have Options to Protect Against RSV

This fall and winter, communities will have a few new tools to help prevent respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) lower respiratory tract disease. In mid-July, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Beyfortus (nirsevimab-alip), a one-dose immunization for all infants younger than eight months in their first RSV season, and children eight to 24 months of age with certain risk factors. Additionally, single dose RSV vaccines (Arexvy and Abrysvo) were approved for pregnant people and adults aged 60 and over to prevent severe RSV disease and hospitalization.

RSV, which causes acute respiratory infections, can have a significant impact on overall health. While most individuals experience mild symptoms, some, especially infants and seniors, are vulnerable to more dangerous lower respiratory tract diseases like pneumonia and bronchiolitis.

Every year, as many as 80,000 children under 5 years old are hospitalized due to RSV, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For adults aged 65 and older, the CDC estimates that RSV is responsible for 60,000–160,000 hospitalizations and 6,000–10,000 deaths. In 2022, the number of older adults hospitalized with RSV-related health issues was 10 times higher than years prior to 2020.

About Beyfortus

Beyfortus is a laboratory-made protein that mirrors the immune system's ability to combat viruses. It is designed to target RSV. A single shot provides protection during the RSV season, which typically starts in the fall and peaks during winter.

Through a series of clinical trials, Beyfortus reduced the occurrence of RSV. One trial of term and late preterm infants, for example, resulted in a reduced risk of about 75%.

Looking Ahead

With experts predicting a surge in RSV cases this fall, the approval of RSV immunizations marks an important step in protecting infants, young children, pregnant people, and older adults. Immunizations remain a key pillar in safeguarding the health of our communities. These new preventative immunizations offer hope for preventing severe RSV-related complications.

Vaccinations at AltaMed

No matter your age, it’s important to stay protected. From RSV to COVID-19 to yearly flu shots, AltaMed can help you grow healthy. We also provide essential childhood, adolescent immunizations including the HPV vaccine for patients zero to 17 years of age.

Safety shouldn’t be complicated. Call us at (888) 499-9303 to schedule an appointment with your provider and stay on track of necessary vaccines.

Get started with AltaMed

See how AltaMed Health Services can help your family grow healthy.

Learn More

Image
Man

Protect Yourself from Fall Infections

As the leaves change color and the air turns crisper, it’s only natural to get excited for fall. And while there’s plenty to look forward to, the change in seasons also brings a host of infectious diseases that can threaten our well-being. Protecting yourself and your loved ones from illnesses like the flu, COVID-19, and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is important. The good news is that vaccinations, along with simple safety measures, can protect your health and the health of those around you.

Understanding Fall Infections

 

  • Influenza (Flu) — The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by the influenza virus. Symptoms can range from mild to severe and include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, and fatigue. The flu can lead to hospitalization, and even death, particularly in vulnerable populations such as the elderly, children, and individuals with underlying health conditions.
  • COVID-19 — The COVID-19 pandemic has reshaped the world, and the virus continues to affect communities globally. The symptoms of COVID-19 vary widely, from mild respiratory symptoms to severe respiratory distress. Vaccination against COVID-19 is a crucial step in reducing transmission and preventing serious illness and hospitalization.
  • Respiratory Syncytial Virus — RSV is a common respiratory virus that can cause mild, cold-like symptoms in adults and older children. However, it can lead to severe respiratory infections in infants and young children, older adults, and people with chronic health conditions. RSV can cause bronchiolitis and pneumonia, requiring hospitalization in some cases.

Why Vaccination Matters

Getting vaccinated against these fall infections is a proactive measure that benefits both individuals and the community at large. Here's why it's crucial:

  • Protection for You — Vaccines provide immunity against diseases, reducing your risk of falling ill and experiencing severe complications. That means you won’t miss the best that fall has to offer.
  • Protection for Others — By getting vaccinated, you contribute to herd immunity. This shields those who cannot be vaccinated due to medical conditions or age, preventing the spread of infections within the community.
  • Prevent Overwhelmed Health Care Systems — Vaccination helps reduce the burden on health care systems, ensuring that hospitals can effectively treat those who require medical attention.

Why The Fall?

The timing of vaccination matters. Experts recommend getting vaccinated against the flu, COVID-19, and RSV in September or October. Here's why:

  • Flu vaccine — The flu typically starts circulating in the fall and peaks during the winter months. By getting vaccinated in September or October, your body has time to build immunity before the flu season hits its peak.
  • COVID-19 vaccine COVID-19 is still a concern, and vaccination remains a primary tool in controlling its spread. By getting vaccinated this fall, (even if you have been vaccinated in the past) will help minimize the risk of contracting or spreading the virus during gatherings or indoor activities.
  • RSV protection — RSV transmission tends to increase during the fall and winter. Vaccinating against RSV before these seasons begin can offer protection to vulnerable populations, particularly infants, young children, and seniors.

Other Safety Methods

Beyond vaccinations, taking simple precautions each day will help you and your family stay protected. Be sure to:

  • Wash your hands, thoroughly — Lather with soap and scrub for at least 20 seconds before rinsing to ensure a proper wash.
  • Carry hand sanitizer — Apply hand sanitizer regularly when running errands. Travel-size containers are available at drug and grocery stores.
  • Isolate when sick — If you or someone you live with shows signs of illness, avoid unnecessary exposure to others. That means rescheduling plans, keeping kids home from school, and delaying errands until symptoms disappear.
  • Wipe down surfaces Use a cleaning spray or alcohol wipe on high-touch items like water bottles, lunch boxes, and handbags.  

We Have Your Back

As fall approaches, prioritize your health and the health of those around you. Vaccination is a key strategy in the fight against infectious diseases. By getting vaccinated in September or October, you're taking an active step toward a healthier and safer season.

All the vaccinations the CDC recommends are available at AltaMed, most at no cost to you.

It’s more important than ever to stay safe and healthy. Call us at (888) 499-9303 to schedule an appointment with your provider and stay on track to prevent these viruses from affecting you and your loved ones.

Image
Putting a Bandage Post Vaccination

Don’t Forget Immunizations Before Going Back to School

As fall approaches and a new school year begins, it's crucial to prioritize the health and safety of children, especially in light of COVID-19. It's important to remember that vaccines offer protection against a range of serious diseases, not just the coronavirus. Before embarking on back-to-school shopping and capturing those first day pictures, ensure that your family has the necessary immunizations to start the school year safely.

Adhering to a Vaccination Schedule

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides a recommended vaccination schedule for newborns and children. While infants receive essential vaccinations during their first years of life, additional boosters are necessary for school-aged children. These include vaccines for measles, mumps, and rubella(MMR), varicella (VAR), and an annual flu shot. It's also crucial to ensure children receive vaccinations for tetanus, diphtheria, and acellular pertussis (Tdap), human papillomavirus (HPV), and the meningococcal shot.

Girl Getting Vaccinated

COVID-19 Vaccination for Children

COVID-19 continues to pose a threat, even as we return to normal life and the pandemic no longer tops the news. Vaccines are approved for children as young as six months old. If your child is unvaccinated, multiple vaccine series are available, depending on their age: 

Pfizer-Biontech Bivalent Vaccine:

  • Children 6 months to 4 years old – 3 doses
  • Children 5 years and older – 1 dose

Moderna Bivalent Vaccine:

  • Children 6 months to 5 years old – 2 doses
  • Children 6 years and older – 1 dose

If your child is between 6 months to 5 years old and has already received one or more monovalent doses, your health care team will provide you information on current recommendations based on your vaccine history.

Maintaining Prevention Habits

Given the ease with which COVID-19 and other viruses can spread, it’s crucial for children to adopt healthy habits. These include:

  • Practicing washing hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds.
  • Avoiding close contact with sick individuals.
  • Covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue or the crook of an arm.
  • Wearing masks in public when you or a family member are sick.
Kids Boarding to a School Bus

Establishing a New Routine

In addition to vaccines and COVID-19 prevention measures, it's important to be prepared and establish routines for the new school year. Ensure that your child's school or care facility has your updated contact information for emergency purposes. Regularly check your children for signs of illness, including:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Body aches
  • Stay informed about potential COVID-19 exposures and know whom to contact at the school in such cases.

Reinforce proper hand-washing techniques at home and emphasize their importance. Help your child develop daily routines for school, such as using hand sanitizer and a water bottle, as well as washing hands immediately upon returning home.

Stay Informed and Seek Support

Engage in meaningful conversations with your child after school to understand their experiences, and stay attuned to reports of excessive coughing, classroom disruptions, or students leaving school premises due to illness. Being aware of the happenings in their school environment can directly impact your home environment.

Dealing with Change

At AltaMed, we understand the challenges families face during these times. We are here to support you by providing resources for dealing with testing and treating COVID-19, as well as access to vaccines. Additionally, our counseling services can assist children in navigating the stress associated with returning to school.

To learn more about how AltaMed can help, visit AltaMed.org or call us at (888) 499-9303. For information about vaccines or testing, please visit our vaccine hub.

Infants and Seniors Have Options to Protect Against RSV