Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) Vaccines in Pharmacies

What is RSV?

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a major cause of lower respiratory illness, particularly among infants, young children and older adults. A vaccine for RSV was approved by Health Canada in August 2023 to prevent RSV disease for adults age 60 and over. 

It is the most common cause of bronchiolitis, meaning inflammation of the small airways in the lung. It is also a common cause of pneumonia, an infection of the lungs, among infants and young children. RSV causes outbreaks of respiratory illness each year. In British Columbia, RSV infections often occur between the late fall to the early spring. 

RSV is highly contagious, meaning it spreads easily from person to person through breathing, coughing, and sneezing. The virus can also spread when a person touches tiny droplets from coughs, or sneezes on another person or on an object, and then touches their own mouth or nose before washing their hands. People infected with RSV are usually contagious for 3 to 8 days. However, some people with compromised immune systems can continue to spread the virus even after their symptoms have ceased, for as long as 4 weeks.

Older children and adults usually present with symptoms similar to the common cold and symptoms go away in 1 to 2 weeks. Typical RSV symptoms include:

  • Runny nose
  • Cough
  • Low grade fever (less than 38.5° C or 101° F)
  • Loss of appetite
  • Mild sore throat

- More information is available at the B.C. Centre for Disease Control. A patient information handout is also available.

Find a Pharmacy with RSV Vaccine

Health Canada has approved an RSV vaccine, called Arexvy, which has been authorized for use in adults 60 years of age and older to prevent lower respiratory tract disease caused by the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). A second RSV vaccine, ABRYSVOTM has been authorized in Canada for immunization of pregnant individuals from 32 through 36 weeks, and for individuals 60 years or older.

The RSV vaccine is not funded by the Province of British Columbia. For individuals interested in the vaccine, it is available for purchase from select B.C. pharmacies. 

Please book online or call to make an appointment at one of the following pharmacies.

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