Important information regarding the publicly funded high-risk respiratory syncytial virus vaccine program
November 1, 2023
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To: Local Health System Partners
FOR IMMEDIATE ATTENTION
Implementation of Ontario’s high-risk respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) vaccine program
As previously shared with you, Health Canada has approved the Arexvy® vaccine for use in persons 60 years of age and older for the prevention of lower respiratory tract disease caused by RSV infection.
For the 2023–2024 RSV season, Ontario is launching a targeted RSV prevention program. This Advisory Alert provides you with details on program eligibility and implementation, vaccine product information, product availability for those who do not currently qualify for the publicly funded Arexvy® vaccine, and adverse event reporting requirements.
Program eligibility and implementation
At this time individuals 60 years of age and older living in long-term care homes (LTCHs) including Elder Care Lodges, and retirement homes (RHs) licensed to provide dementia care have been prioritized to receive the publicly funded Arexvy® vaccine. Expanded vaccination opportunities for additional high-risk settings and individuals may be offered after distribution to priority settings and individuals is complete. Further information will be shared with you on expanded eligibility for the program should this opportunity occur.
Public health units are managing and overseeing the distribution of RSV vaccine to eligible settings in their jurisdictions. Public Health Sudbury & Districts is in the process of working with eligible settings locally to ensure distribution of vaccine to these settings and is providing supports as necessary for program implementation and vaccine administration.
Vaccine product information
Arexvy® vaccine is indicated for persons 60 years of age and older without contraindications to the product or its container. The vaccine contains both antigen and adjuvant components and must be reconstituted in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions for use. It is administered intramuscularly as a single dose of 0.5 mL. The need for future doses is currently unknown. Refer to the RSV fact sheet for health care providers (attached) for further information.
As a precaution, routine coadministration with other vaccines is not currently recommended. This is not due to any safety signals, but instead to enable proper surveillance of potential adverse events following immunization. It is recommended to wait 14 days before or after the administration of Arexvy® and other vaccines.
Coadministration may be considered after a thorough assessment of risks and benefits (i.e., if patient risk is high and community RSV, C-19, or influenza activity is high and increasing, or where there is risk that an individual will otherwise not receive the vaccine(s)).
Product availability for individuals who are ineligible for the publicly funded program
Arexvy® vaccine is available for authorized persons by prescription and is available for purchase at pharmacies. Pharmacists are not currently authorized in Ontario to administer the RSV vaccine.
Reporting of adverse events following immunization (AEFI)
Surveillance and reporting of AEFI is a key component of vaccine pharmacovigilance. Persons presenting to you with adverse events following vaccination with Arexvy® should be clinically assessed and managed. Such events should be reported promptly (as appropriate) to Public Health Sudbury & Districts. The Adverse Event Reporting Form and supplemental AEFI reporting resources are available on our website at phsd.ca. Completed AEFI forms should be sent to Public Health Sudbury & Districts’ secure fax at 705.677.9618.
Follow up communication with detailed processes on program implementation will be sent to LTCHs and Elder Care Lodges shortly.
Thank you for your ongoing efforts in ensuring that individuals are vaccinated to help protect our communities and reduce strain on health system capacity.
Should you require additional information please contact the immunization program at 705.522.9200, ext. 458 or toll-free-1.866.522.9200.
Original Signed By
Dr. Penny Sutcliffe
Medical Officer of Health and Chief Executive Officer
NOTE: All Advisory Alerts are found on our website.
This item was last modified on November 1, 2023