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RCEM welcomes the introduction of RSV vaccination programmes

Thursday 27 June 2024

The Royal College of Emergency Medicine (RCEM) has welcomed the announcement of two new vaccination programmes to protect against Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV). 

The programmes, announced by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) and NHS England on Monday (24 June 2024) will start on 1 September 2024 – those eligible will be adults aged between 75 and 79 and pregnant women.

Last week RCEM joined The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) in calling for a vaccine programme to be implemented as soon as possible.

RSV is a complex and common viral infection that causes respiratory tract infection, often in children. Most infants usually get it before they turn two.

It is responsible for around 33,000 NHS hospitalisations of under-fives annually, and deaths of 20 – 30 young children every year.

Following the announcement, Dr Adrian Boyle, President of RCEM said: “We greatly welcome the introduction of a national RSV vaccination programme to reduce the risk to children and ease the spike in seasonal pressure experienced by already overstretched A&E departments.

“RSV is a nasty and potentially very serious illness which each year sees tens of thousands of poorly children brought into Emergency Departments by worried parents.

“We commend the excellent work done by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health in calling for the implementation of this vaccination programme and we look forward to seeing the positive impact felt by families and medical staff in the coming winter as a result.”

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