UI Hospitals hosting trials of RSV vaccine for older Iowans

IOWA CITY — The University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics is hosting a clinical trial for a vaccine that promises to protect senior citizens against the respiratory disease known as RSV.

Dr. Patricia Winokur of the U-I Carver College of Medicine, says many of the trial’s participants are grandparents. “They are very interested in participating because they thought this was a really important way that they could protect themselves because they might be getting RSV from their grandkids,” Winokur says, “but also protect their grandkids.”

The Centers for Disease Control is expected to meet this week to make recommendations on the usage of the GSK and Pfizer vaccines. Both were approved by the Food and Drug Administration for adults 60 and older last month. Winokur says the vaccine might be best for seniors who have underlying conditions.

“If you have someone, for me as a practitioner, who is 65 and older and has significant lung disease in particular, where they would have a much higher risk of complications from getting RSV, this would probably be a very important vaccine for that group,” she says. During the past few winters, the U.S. has experienced an unusually high amount of respiratory virus activity driven by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The vaccine could be available as soon as this fall.