Increasing Awareness of RSV Immunization Among Adults


Dr Madison provides insights on the importance of and strategies for raising awareness to adult RSV vaccines.

Ryan Haumschild, PharmD, MS, MBA: I love this discussion because all of us are experts here when we talk about RSV [respiratory syncytial virus]. But the reality is, even though we’ve created so much education around RSV vaccinations, there’s still a lack of awareness across a lot of the public. Dr Madison, you’re someone that’s done a huge amount of work creating awareness around vaccines and COVID-19. As we pivot forward, how do you plan to spread awareness among the general adult population and educate them on immunization, specifically RSV?

Christina Madison, PharmD, FCCP, AAHIVP: I think one of the biggest things that we can do now is talk about the FDA-approved product. We also have a new product that just went through an FDA panel that’s looking like it will also be approved for pregnant women to protect their newborns. I think the awareness factor was more challenging when we didn’t actually have a product. It’s much harder to talk about something if it’s theoretical. So the lack of having good therapeutics and now actually having something that we can use for prevention that’s not just what we saw in young infants. I think that’s part of how we can help with the PR [public relations] campaign, as you may say, around whether or not we need to have adults vaccinated, the awareness of RSV, and that it can cause complications, unnecessary hospitalization and death.

Ryan Haumschild, PharmD, MS, MBA: The other piece we always want to look at is how we stratify patients. We want to educate everyone on RSV, but we understand some patients might be at higher risk. Some of the ways we do it in the hospital is we utilize order sets with rules that are pulling in ICD-10 [International Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision] codes and comorbidities. In the community setting, we’ve even talked about it. How do we identify some patients that are on standard heart failure treatments, immunocompromised, or might be on some type of chemotherapeutic? How do we make sure they’re ultimately aware because they could be the most at risk? In your opinion, how do you identify eligible and at-risk patients for RSV infections? And are some of those strategies we’ve used in other areas still applicable as we’re identifying those with RSV?

Christina Madison, PharmD, FCCP, AAHIVP: I think that we can use some of the things that we did that were sort of nontraditional outside-of-the box ways that we notified people around the pandemic and things that we could use for therapeutics around the pandemic. So having literature available in your community pharmacy and putting those little inserts inside the bag. You can run a report and see who’s on what type of medication and it can ping you if somebody has a heart failure medication or a COPD [chronic obstructive pulmonary disease] inhaler, or if the person is over the age of 65. We can just automatically place that literature with their prescription materials because they’re going to be coming to us for their chronic medical or chronic medication needs as well as even just talking about them and having a prompt. If they’re coming in for a pneumococcal vaccine, should we be asking about RSV because it’s a very similar criteria as far as who’s eligible and who’s potentially at risk. I think using those kinds of things and having marketing campaigns right now after the approval of the first product, which we’re going to talk about in a little bit more detail, we are seeing specific direct-to-consumer advertising by the company targeting the elderly and talking about it. I think we saw something very similar around hepatitis C and the baby boomers, and talking with them and asking, “Do you know if you’re at risk?” We also need to talk to other providers. If you are someone who is actively caring for somebody who has heart failure, who’s over 65, who has COPD or underlying respiratory conditions, if you’re a rheumatologist, if you’re somebody who is a GI [gastroenterology] specialist who’s prescribing anti-TNF [tumor necrosis factor] alpha medications, prednisone, all of these things, you should be actively thinking about how to protect your patient against preventable communicable disease.

Ryan Haumschild, PharmD, MS, MBA: I love that. And I love how you’re bringing in technology to match that up because that is so important. I think it’s such a broad spectrum of patients that can really benefit from that proactive education and intervention.

Transcript edited for clarity.

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