CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – Peak season for respiratory illnesses like Covid and the flu is fast approaching and the state’s Department of Health is aiming to get ahead of it with a new online dashboard providing data to the public.

This online resource is actually a redesign of the original COVID dashboard the state created early in the pandemic to track the spread of that virus in the state. Now health officials are hoping to expand that information to other illnesses. Each will each be maintained and updated individually and summarized on the landing page all together.

They hope the public information will help state residents measure the risk level for respiratory illnesses as close to real-time as possible.

Two RSV vaccines for people over the age of 60 were approved this year by the FDA, the first to lower the risk of severe illness in clinical trials. The FDA also approved a vaccine for pregnant women to protect soon-to-be newborns.

Young children and older adults are at the highest risk for severe RSV, which can be deadly. There is no approved vaccine for adults under 60, pharmacists with Stop & Shop told 22News demand is strong.

“Huge demand, it’s almost similar to covid. My area alone, we do a few hundred RSV vaccines a week,” said Stop & Shop District Pharmacy Director James Root.

Meanwhile, updated Covid-19 shots from Pfizer and Moderna are recommended for everyone six months and older this fall and winter, alongside the always recommended flu shot.

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