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Respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, is a virus that causes infections of the lungs and breathing passages. It is highly contagious (easy to get from other people). In older adults, RSV is a common cause of a lung disease which can cause life-threatening pneumonia. The RSV vaccine can help older adults at risk of RSV.
Getting an RSV vaccine provides protection. If you receive the vaccine, you are less likely to get RSV. If you do get RSV, you are less likely to get seriously sick if you have received the vaccine.
Your healthcare professional will help you decide whether to get the RSV vaccine:
- Older adults should ask their healthcare professional whether or not they should be given the RSV vaccine
- Your healthcare professional will consider your risk factors for getting seriously sick from RSV and your current health status when helping you decide whether to get the vaccine
If you and your healthcare professional decide you should get the RSV vaccine, fall is the best time to get it. RSV is especially common in the fall and winter.
Coverage for an RSV vaccine varies:
- RSV vaccines are covered by Medicare Part D
- RSV vaccines may not be currently covered by Medicare Part B
- Private insurers can individually decide whether to cover the RSV vaccine
Vaccines are available at many locations:
- Most drug stores
- Community health centers
- State or local health departments
- Ask your doctor or healthcare professional
Last updated September 2023