Vaccines are available to protect against respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), COVID-19, and influenza

Vaccines are available to protect against respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), COVID-19, and influenza

Respiratory illnesses are on the rise in New Hampshire and are likely to continue for a while, but some Granite Staters are torn about whether to get shots to protect themselves. This is the season for respiratory illness, but there are ways to reduce your risk of getting sick, especially from RSV, COVID-19 and influenza, said Benjamin Chan, state epidemiologist. “All three of these viruses can cause severe infections and serious illness,” Chan said. Chan said there are vaccines for all three diseases and there is still time to get the vaccines before the peak season. >> Download the free WMUR app to get updates on the go: Apple | Google Play <

Respiratory illnesses are on the rise in New Hampshire and will likely continue for a while, but some Granite residents are torn about whether to get shots to protect themselves.

Dr. Benjamin Chan, state epidemiologist, said this is the season for respiratory illness, but there are ways to reduce your risk of getting sick, especially from RSV, COVID-19 and influenza.

“The good news is that there are vaccinations that can protect people from these three viruses that can cause severe infections and serious diseases,” Chan said.

Chan said there are vaccines for the three diseases and there is still time to get them before the peak season.

>> Download the free WMUR app to get updates on the go: Apple | Google Apps <

But some people have mixed feelings about getting vaccines.

“You always want to get yourself vaccinated against the flu,” resident Paul Romano said. “It’s everywhere, so just vaccinate yourself.”

“I don’t think they’re safe,” said Carol Gerlach, who was visiting from Wisconsin.

“I get them all, yeah,” said Deborah Constant of Nashua. “Protect yourselves, because we don’t want another pandemic like the one we had. This goes without saying. If we have it, why shouldn’t we have it?”

Chan said people should talk to their medical provider about the shots to see if they’re right for them or to answer any questions.

There are newer vaccines available for influenza and COVID-19. For RSV, a new vaccine has been released, and not everyone is eligible. People over 60 are eligible, and another vaccine is available for pregnant women. A separate immunization is available for children younger than 8 months.

“I don’t think there’s necessarily one virus that’s more worrying than another,” Chan said. “All three of these viruses can cause serious illness or infection.”

Chan said basic hygiene — washing hands, covering your cough, and staying home if you’re sick — will help prevent respiratory viruses this winter.

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