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No, getting a COVID-19 or flu vaccine does not increase your risk of getting RSV

Doctors in Maine say RSV cases are rising earlier than normal this year, but getting COVID-19 or flu shots does not increase a person's chances of getting RSV.

PORTLAND, Maine — Doctors in Maine said rates of pediatric cases of respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, are rising in the state earlier than expected this year, matching a nationwide trend.

With flu season ramping up, doctors worry they could be facing a "tripledemic": COVID-19, flu, and RSV.

Maine doctors said they're hearing a concerning rumor from patients -- that getting a COVID-19 vaccine or a flu shot predisposes someone to getting the respiratory virus RSV.


Does getting a COVID-19 vaccine or a flu shot predispose someone to getting the respiratory virus RSV?


  • Mary Ottolini, M.D., chair of pediatrics for the Barbara Bush Children's Hospital.
  • Dr. Kathryn Rutledge, pediatric inpatient physician and president of the medical staff at Eastern Maine Medical Center.


This is false.

No, there is no evidence that shows COVID-19 or flu vaccines predispose kids to RSV.


"It may just be that we're getting over the worst of it right now, but right around the corner is the flu," Dr. Ottolini said. "It just happens to be a coincidence. RSV is going around right now. You're not going to increase the risk of your child getting RSV by getting them immunized."

Dr. Rutledge said that going to get a shot could be a potential exposure point – just like any crowded space.

"You're more likely to get exposed to things. I don't think the doctor's office is a huge exposure risk, but it might be for some families with very small children," Dr. Rutledge said.

She added there is no cause-and-effect relationship between getting a COVID-19 or flu vaccine and contracting RSV.

Doctors advise parents and kids to avoid crowded places to limit exposure risk.

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