RSV Vaccines Approved for Older Adults   

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention gave the green light to two new RSV vaccines for older adults and expects them to be available in the fall.

RSV, which is short for respiratory syncytial virus, is a highly contagious virus that causes flu-like illness in people of all ages. Although RSV is often associated with babies and young children, it can also be dangerous for seniors. In the U.S., as many as 160,000 older adults are hospitalized each year with RSV, and thousands die as a result of their infection.

The RSV hospitalization rate among seniors in the most recent season was higher than it’s been for at least six years, according to data from the CDC. There were also high levels of flu, and Covid-19 is still in circulation.

One of the approved vaccines is from GSK and the other is from Pfizer.

Single doses of the vaccines will be available to adults 60 and older using “shared clinical decision-making,” based on conversations between people and their health care providers about what is appropriate for them.

Those at highest risk for severe illness include people with chronic heart or lung disease, those with weakened immune systems and those living in nursing homes or long-term care facilities, according to the CDC.

Vaccination Reduced COVID-19 Disparities Between Low- and High-Income Communities

COVID-19 vaccination helped reduce disparities in disease incidence between low- and high-income communities, according to a new analysis led by Cedars-Sinai investigators.

In 81 assessed Los Angeles communities, COVID-19 incidence rate during two surges before the availability of vaccines was higher in lower-income communities than higher-income communities.

During the first surge after vaccines became available the disparity in COVID-19 incidence between the highest- and lowest-income communities disappeared.

The impact of vaccination on COVID-19 incidence was highest in the lowest-income communities despite lower vaccination coverage.

Study authors point to public health programs that helped reduce disease incidence disparities. For instance, efforts in California included allocating 40% of vaccination appointments to communities in the lowest quartile of the California Healthy Places Index early in the vaccine rollout.

New Mental Health Hospital to Address Bed Shortage in KC Area

A new 72-bed mental health inpatient hospital in Olathe, jointly operated by KVC Health Systems and Children’s Mercy Hospital, is being cited as a meaningful addition to the KC Metro to help address the shortage of available beds to address acute mental health assistance.  

“A lack of psychiatric beds has been one of the largest barriers to providing mental health care in our state,” said Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly. “When completed, this state-of-the-art hospital will take significant pressure off our health care systems.”  

The $53 million project is supported by a $12.725 million grant from the State of Kansas Strengthening People and Revitalizing Kansas (SPARK) Executive Committee, which distributed federal American Rescue Plan Act Funding.  

The project will create an additional 48 pediatric beds and 24 adult beds, have the capacity to care for more than 3,400 patients annually and will create approximately 150 new jobs.  

“Our country is facing a mental health crisis. This collaboration demonstrates our joint commitment to providing resources and creating greater capacity across Kansas and Missouri to serve children requiring more complex care,” said Paul Kempinski, Children’s Mercy president and CEO. “We continue to see an increasing need for these services each year.  In 2022 alone, Children’s Mercy provided care to nearly 3,000 children in our emergency department with acute mental health needs. This new hospital will take a significant strain off area emergency departments that are not well-suited to facilitate care for patients in mental health crisis by increasing access to acute inpatient care designed specifically for their needs.”