The New York state Department of Health issued a standing order Wednesday that would allow pharmacists to administer the Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) vaccine to those 60 and older and pregnant people without a separate prescription from their physician, DOH Commissioner Dr. James McDonald said.
“This updated standing order expands access to the RSV vaccine, allowing pregnant people to protect their unborn child from RSV and also allows older adults to protect themselves, all with a simple trip to the pharmacy for the vaccine,” McDonald said in a statement Wednesday. “As RSV can cause serious illness in infants and older adults, I strongly encourage all who are eligible to get the shot now to protect their own health and their loved ones.”
The first RSV vaccine for pregnant individuals was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in August. In September, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended those that are pregnant get the RSV vaccine. The CDC said that if the parent is vaccinated 14 days or more before their child is born, those antibodies will protect the child for up to eight months.
The latest recommendations from the CDC are for pregnant people to get an RSV vaccine during weeks 32 through 36 of pregnancy to prevent severe RSV disease in infants.
RSV is a respiratory virus that infects the lungs and breathing passages. According to the CDC, up to 160,000 Americans older than 60 are hospitalized every year, and 6,000 to 10,000 of them die.