Mitigation of respiratory syncytial virus epidemics by RSVpreF vaccines after the COVID-19 pandemic in the UK: a modelling study

Lancet. 2023 Nov:402 Suppl 1:S39. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(23)02113-X.


Background: The RSVpreF vaccines have breakthrough progress. The respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) vaccine for older adults from GlaxoSmithKline was the first RSV vaccine approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in early May 2023, followed by the subsequent FDA approval of Pfizer's RSV vaccines for older adults and pregnant women. We aimed to estimate the public health impact of the potential population-level administrations of the RSVpreF vaccine in the UK.

Methods: In this modelling study, we used national census and contact survey data to construct an individual-based mathematical model, with interpersonal connections characterising household structure, social settings, and age-specific contact patterns. We considered both within-host viral-load dynamics and between-host RSV transmission. We modelled the coverages of RSV vaccines for older people (age ≥60 years) and pregnant women, using influenza vaccination data from the 2018-19 season. We explored a range of possible transmissibility and estimated the health burden averted by RSVpreF vaccine over a 300-day period as compared with the control scenario without vaccines.

Findings: In a low-transmission scenario (Re=1·2), RSVpreF would avert a total population of 2·35 (95% credible interval [CrI] 1·24-3·77) million infections, 12.80 (95% CrI 8·60-17·06) thousand hospital admissions, and 0·93 (95% CrI 0·69-1·25) thousand deaths, with 1·82 (1·41-2·33) million infections, 12·44 (8·50-16·38) thousand hospital admissions, and 0·93 (0·67-1·23) thousand deaths averted for people aged 60 years and older. In a high-transmission scenario (Re=2·0), RSVpreF would avert 2·01 (1·37-2·68) million infections, 14·67 (10·05-18·33) thousand hospital admissions, and 1·12 (0·80-1·35) thousand deaths. The majority averted would still be among older adults.

Interpretation: Our mathematical models will help improve the vaccine schedules of RSVpreF. Future work will address several limitations when data become available, including the incorporation of population immunity, potential vaccine hesitancy, and other factors affecting vaccine uptake and effectiveness.

Funding: Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, the European Research Council, and Ministry of Science and Technology of the People's Republic of China.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • COVID-19*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Pandemics
  • Pregnancy
  • Respiratory Syncytial Virus Vaccines*
  • Respiratory Syncytial Virus, Human*
  • United Kingdom / epidemiology


  • Respiratory Syncytial Virus Vaccines