Unlocking Protection: AREXVY Vaccine Shields Older Australians Against RSV


In a groundbreaking move for public health, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has approved AREXVY, a new vaccine designed to safeguard Australians aged 60 and over against the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).
Unlocking Protection: AREXVY Vaccine Shields Older Australians Against RSV

TGA Approval: A Turning Point

The TGA's recent approval marks a turning point, signaling hope for increased protection against RSV among the elderly. The decision comes after extensive clinical trials conducted by the vaccine's manufacturer, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK).

Vaccine Rollout and Availability

While the rollout date is yet to be confirmed, there is anticipation that the vaccine may be available via private prescription before the onset of winter. However, the cost for patients remains uncertain, adding an element of ambiguity to the situation.

Dr. Rod Pearce's Insight

Renowned GP and National Immunisation Coalition Chair, Dr. Rod Pearce, expresses optimism, stating that the vaccine ticks all the boxes. He emphasizes the potential impact on reducing infections in adults, thereby alleviating the strain on children's hospitals due to RSV.

Global Success and Trials

AREXVY, initially approved in the United States, has garnered success in various countries, including the UK, European Union, Canada, and Japan. In Australia, its approval follows a comprehensive international clinical trial involving nearly 25,000 individuals aged 60 and older.

Efficacy Against RSV-Related Conditions

Trials reveal a remarkable 94.6% efficacy rate against RSV-related lower respiratory tract disease (LRTD) in patients with underlying medical conditions. This breakthrough is particularly significant given the alarming increase in RSV diagnoses, with 127,944 cases reported in 2023 in Australia.

Personal Perspective: A GP's Account

Flinders University Associate Professor John Litt shares a personal encounter with RSV as a close friend faced the condition. He highlights the urgency for a solution, narrating how quickly the friend's health deteriorated, emphasizing the severity of the virus.

RSV Diagnosis and Vaccine Impact

Associate Professor Litt underscores the ease of diagnosing RSV and the potential influence of GP recommendations on vaccine uptake. He envisions a future where high vaccine coverage against influenza and RSV significantly reduces hospital admissions, particularly during flu seasons.

Antibiotic Reduction Potential

Dr. Pearce discusses the vaccine's potential to decrease antibiotic prescriptions, as fewer secondary bacterial infections from RSV are anticipated. This aligns with antibiotic stewardship principles, emphasizing the importance of avoiding unnecessary antibiotic use.

Future Prospects: Diverse Patient Cohorts

Looking ahead, Dr. Pearce envisions extending vaccine accessibility to vulnerable populations and those with co-morbidities. He stresses the role of GPs in informing eligible patients about the vaccine, empowering them to make informed decisions about their healthcare.

Positive Outlook for Australia

As the vaccine inches closer to availability, Dr. Pearce maintains a positive outlook, highlighting its potential to mitigate the severity of RSV, prevent its spread to children, and contribute to overall healthcare improvement.

International Alignment

Dr. Pearce draws parallels with the USA, the UK, and Spain, positioning Australia as part of a global effort to combat RSV through effective vaccination.

In conclusion, the approval of AREXVY brings a ray of hope for older Australians, promising protection against the highly infectious RSV. As the nation awaits the vaccine's arrival, the potential to transform public health remains high.


1. **Q: When will the vaccine be available to the public?**
   - A: The exact rollout date is yet to be confirmed, but there are hopes for availability before winter.

2. **Q: What is the cost of the AREXVY vaccine for patients?**
   - A: The cost remains unclear at this time, awaiting further information from health authorities.

3. **Q: How effective is AREXVY against RSV-related conditions?**
   - A: Clinical trials report a remarkable 94.6% efficacy against RSV-related lower respiratory tract disease in individuals aged 60 and older.

4. **Q: Can the vaccine reduce antibiotic prescriptions?**
   - A: Yes, Dr. Pearce anticipates a reduction in antibiotic prescriptions due to fewer secondary bacterial infections from RSV.

5. **Q: What impact does the vaccine have on overall healthcare in Australia?**
   - A: The vaccine's potential to alleviate the strain on hospitals and reduce the severity of RSV could lead to significant improvements in healthcare.

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