COVID-19 Vaccine Boosters

COVID-19 Vaccine Boosters

-The country has entered yet another wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

-An independent panel advising the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday recommended third doses of coronavirus vaccine for certain people with weakened immune systems, giving its support to the Food and Drug Administration’s authorization of the third dose.

-About three percent of Americans have weakened immune systems for a variety of reasons, from a history of cancer to the use of certain medications such as steroids.

-One study showed about 40% to 44% of people hospitalized for a so-called breakthrough case — infection after vaccination — are among the immune-compromised.

-People now eligible for third shots could include those who are solid-organ transplant recipients, advanced or untreated H.I.V. infections, those who have undergone certain types of stem cell transplants within the past two years and those receiving certain kinds of chemotherapy, among others.

-Studies of solid-organ transplant recipients and patients on hemodialysis, which showed that people who had no detectable antibody response to their initial two doses did have one after a third dose. Studies have shown that third doses are safe.

-The government encourages the third dose to be the same as the first two, but doesn’t mandate it.

-Immunocompromised people who receive a third dose should still wear a mask, maintain social distancing with people they do not live with, and avoid crowds and poorly ventilated indoor spaces.

-The additional, or third, dose is to be administered at least 28 days following the two-dose regimen of the same vaccine to individuals 18 years of age or older (ages 12 or older for Pfizer-BioNTech).

-The updated F.D.A. authorizations do not apply to immunocompromised people who received the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

-Anyone else, including people with chronic medical conditions, like diabetes or asthma, should not be getting third shots at this point.

-Other individuals who are fully vaccinated are adequately protected and do not need an additional dose of Covid-19 vaccine at this time.

Mahesh S. Ochaney, MD

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