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CT reports season's first flu, RSV deaths, as public health officials stress importance of vaccines

Respiratory syncytial virus - viral vaccine.
Hailshadow / Getty Images
Respiratory syncytial virus - viral vaccine.

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Connecticut recorded its first flu and RSV deaths of the season, prompting public health officials to remind residents of the importance of vaccinations.

The Department of Public Health says two residents, both over the age of 80, died in Middlesex and New Haven counties — one from influenza and the other from respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV.

Officials confirmed one more RSV death Thursday — a Hartford County resident in their 60s.

State health officials are urging residents to get vaccinated against the flu, COVID-19, and RSV ahead of the upcoming holidays.

“The 2023-24 respiratory viral disease season is already an active one,” Connecticut Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Manisha Juthani said in a statement. “As we approach the holidays, I strongly encourage all Connecticut residents to make sure they are up to date on their seasonal vaccines, particularly older individuals and those with multiple medical conditions.”

Juthani said that “even if you have had COVID before and have been previously vaccinated, our immunity dwindles over time.”

In October, 67 people died of COVID-19 causes in Connecticut. Historically, most deaths from COVID-19 statewide have been among people above the age of 55.

Adults 60 and older, pregnant people, and all infants younger than 8 months who are born during — or who are entering — the RSV season should also get vaccinated against RSV.

Residents can receive vaccines from a health care provider, a retail pharmacy, or by visiting vaccines.gov to find a nearby vaccination location.

This story has been updated. Connecticut Public Radio's Patrick Skahill contributed to this report.

Sujata Srinivasan is Connecticut Public Radio’s senior health reporter. Prior to that, she was a senior producer for Where We Live, a newsroom editor, and from 2010-2014, a business reporter for the station.

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