EDENWALD, The Bronx (WABC) -- With the recent rise of respiratory syncytial virus (more commonly known as "RSV") across the U.S., Earvin "Magic" Johnson has been busy educating communities on its risks.
The NBA legend was back on a basketball court on Tuesday, only this time delivering a lifesaving assist as part of GSK's Sideline RSV "Community Conversations" event series.
As GSK's campaign spokesperson, Johnson attended the Northeast Bronx YMCA, where he delivered a straight talk about all things central to RSV, including the risk it poses to adults over the age of 60.
"Unfortunately, in our community a lot of times we get misinformation," the NBA Hall of Famer told the audience. "So, we end up getting very ill, sick or passing away because we didn't get the right information."
RSV, which is most commonly associated with young children, can lead to serious illness, hospitalization, and even death among older adults. Last year, there were 177,000 cases in people over the age of 60, resulting in 14,000 deaths.
For the first time, a vaccine is now available for those over the age of 60.
"It's taken 50 to 60 years to develop a vaccine to protect against RSV for adults and this is the first season where we have vaccination options for people over 60," said Dr. Len Friedland of GSK.
Magic is on a national tour sponsored by the vaccine manufacturer. Besides Bronx residents, the event was comprised of elected officials, community leaders and those who work with the elderly to spread the message.