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Magic Johnson visits the Bronx, talks about importance of RSV vaccination for older residents

Magic Johnson visits the Bronx, talks about importance of RSV vaccination
Magic Johnson visits the Bronx, talks about importance of RSV vaccination 02:13

NEW YORK -- For the first time this fall season, the RSV vaccine is now available for adults 60 years and older. Doctors say this is typically a time when respiratory viruses start to spread.

The conversation about getting vaccinated against the virus took place, with the help from a famous basketball player -- NBA legend, health advocate, and sideline RSV spokesperson Earvin "Magic" Johnson.

Johnson walked into the Northeast Bronx YMCA with all eyes and almost all phones capturing the moment.

"Very excited. He's one of my favorite players," said Bronx resident Kermit Dingle. "You don't realize how tall he is until you're standing next to him," said Cookie, another resident.

But the NBA Hall of Famer wasn't there to shoot hoops; rather, to host a community conversation, alongside doctors, about the RSV virus in older adults. 

"I'm going to tell you what saved my life, early detection. If I didn't go, I wouldn't be here 32 years later," said Johnson.

Johnson is a health advocate who has lived with HIV for nearly half his life. He is working alongside GSK to educate Bronx residents about listening to your body and speaking with your doctor about getting the RSV vaccination.

Reggie Fleming lives in the Bronx

"This was a good wake-up call for the community here," Fleming said. "His voice resonates big time."

NYC Health says RSV is a common respiratory virus that often causes mild cold like symptoms. Like the flu, RSV is most common in the fall and winter months.

"This is the first season we now have vaccination options to protect against this disease in adults over age 60," said Dr. Leonard Friedland, vaccine research scientist at GSK.

RSV is especially serious in infants and older adults, according to NYC Health. Johnson's conversation at The Y has now sparked older residents to plan ahead with prevention.

"I have an annual coming up in October, I'm going to ask him about that too," said Dingle.

"I'm moving up in age, I'm 72 and this respiratory thing is a serious issue," said Fleming.

The Northeast Bronx YMCA is the first of four locations for Sideline RSV and Magic Johnson across the country to discuss the vaccine and the virus.

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