GSK is intensifying its campaign to raise awareness about respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and promote its RSV vaccine, Arexvy. The pharmaceutical giant has enlisted the support of former basketball star and public health advocate Earvin “Magic” Johnson to join its “Sideline RSV” initiative, which was launched in March. This effort laid the groundwork for the FDA’s approval of the Arexvy vaccine for older adults in May. With the vaccination season underway, GSK is planning a series of community events at YMCA locations in four major US cities to increase awareness about RSV infections in older adults.
Magic Johnson will serve as the campaign spokesperson, aiming to ignite conversations about RSV and its impact on older individuals. The Basketball Hall of Famer, in a statement, expressed his commitment to educating the public about RSV, highlighting the lack of awareness, especially among those aged 60 and above. Johnson’s involvement in the campaign is seen as a strategic move to capture people’s attention and engage diverse communities, including communities of color, according to Leonard Friedland, M.D., GSK’s Vice President and Director of Scientific Affairs and Public Health.
The four-date schedule for these events, spanning from this month through October, will see Magic Johnson participating in gatherings at YMCA locations in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, and Phoenix. While Phoenix is smaller than the other cities mentioned, it is still significant for GSK’s objectives due to its large and rapidly growing senior population.
GSK’s heightened awareness efforts are part of its strategy to compete with Pfizer’s Abrysvo in the market. Both vaccines have received shared clinical decision-making recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. Pfizer has cautioned that this shared decision-making approach, where vaccination decisions are individualized for each patient, may slow down vaccine adoption in the United States.