Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) vaccine

Learn about the RSV vaccine.

Disease it protects from

RSV is a common respiratory illness. It’s usually mild, and you can get it many times in your life.

RSV mostly affects babies, young children, and older adults, but you can get it at any age.

RSV infection can lead to more serious illness, such as pneumonia, if you:

  • are under age 2 years
  • have heart or lung problems
  • have a condition that affects your nervous system
  • have a weak immune system
  • are over age 65 years

RSV spreads when an infected person coughs or sneezes and you breathe in the virus. It also spreads if you touch something that has the virus on it (such as hands or a doorknob), then touch your eyes, mouth, or nose.

Symptoms may include runny nose, sneezing, cough, wheezing, fever, sore throat, headache, feeling tired, and loss of appetite.

In babies, the only symptoms of RSV may be being less active, having trouble breathing and feeding, and, and getting upset easily.

Symptoms last 1 to 2 weeks.

To prevent RSV infection:

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unclean hands.
  • Wash your hands regularly.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • If you are sick:
    • Stay home.
    • Cough or sneeze into a tissue or your elbow (not your hand).
    • Avoid contact with people who are at high risk of severe RSV infection.

Learn more about respiratory syncytial virus.

Who can get this vaccine

In Alberta, RSV vaccine is not offered for free.

If you are age 60 years or older you can get this vaccine, but you need to pay for it.

There are medicines for babies who are at high risk of getting very sick from RSV. Talk to your doctor for more information.

Get the vaccine

If you want the vaccine and you are age 60 years or older, contact a private immunization clinic.

You can also ask your doctor or pharmacist if they sell the vaccine.

Check with your health insurance plan to find out if it covers the cost.

Current as of: January 18, 2024
Author: Provincial Immunization Program, Alberta Health Services
Our work takes place on historical and contemporary Indigenous lands, including the territories of Treaty 6, Treaty 7 & Treaty 8 and the homeland of the Métis Nation of Alberta and 8 Métis Settlements. We also acknowledge the many Indigenous communities that have been forged in urban centres across Alberta.