Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is the most common cause of serious lower respiratory tract illness in infants and children and causes significant disease in the elderly and immunocompromised. Recently there has been an acceleration in the development of candidate RSV vaccines, monoclonal antibodies and therapeutics. However, the effects of RSV genomic variability on the implementation of vaccines and therapeutics remain poorly understood. To address this knowledge gap, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the Fogarty International Center held a workshop to summarize what is known about the global burden and transmission of RSV disease, the phylogeographic dynamics and genomics of the virus, and the networks that exist to improve the understanding of RSV disease. Discussion at the workshop focused on the implications of viral evolution and genomic variability for vaccine and therapeutics development in the context of various immunization strategies. This paper summarizes the meeting, highlights research gaps and future priorities, and outlines what has been achieved since the meeting took place. It concludes with an examination of what the RSV community can learn from our understanding of SARS-CoV-2 genomics and what insights over sixty years of RSV research can offer the rapidly evolving field of COVID-19 vaccines.