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All the Info You Need About Getting a 3rd Dose of the Vaccine

Stock photo of someone getting vaccine.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officially recommends those with weakened immune systems to receive a third dose of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines that fight the virus at the center of the ongoing global pandemic. This joins an earlier authorization from the Food and Drug Administration that last week.

Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the CDC director, released a statement on Friday that those with moderately to severely compromised immune systems should receive the third dose after the initial two doses.

“Emerging data suggest some people with moderately to severely compromised immune systems do not always build the same level of immunity compared to people who are not immunocompromised. In addition, in small studies, fully vaccinated immunocompromised people have accounted for a large proportion of hospitalized breakthrough cases (40-44%),” Walensky said.

Those who are immunocompromised and get the virus are also more likely to expose others.

Studies have indicated that the initial vaccine doses are effective at a rate of 58-72 percent in immunocompromised people as opposed to 90-94 percent in those without immune deficiencies, according to NPR.

 

The CDC recommends people with advanced or untreated HIV, those being treated for cancer, recipients of organ transplants, and several other groups to get the third dose. The dose should come more than four weeks, our 28 days after the initial series and should be the same vaccine. There is currently no recommendation for those that received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

In lieu of a recommendation, some states have come up with their own processes. In New York, many that were already given the vaccine received an email stating that those who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine would receive a Pfizer shot as a booster.

Those with chronic conditions are still not authorized for the additional dose as of now. However, there is a discussion on allowing a booster for vulnerable populations. Israel, for instance, has started to allow older adults to receive the third dose.  

On Monday, Aug. 16, news broke that the Biden administration may soon announce that vaccinated people will need a booster shot as well. Those boosters would start to be given in September, reported The Washington Post.

The booster would help protect against the original strain of the coronavirus along with new variants that are mutating.

Health experts recommend the third dose be the same vaccine as the original doses. The CDC urges those who do have weakened immune systems to continue following its guidelines including wearing a face mask and staying 6 feet away from people outside your home.

This all comes as the World Health Organization called for a moratorium on giving additional doses to those that are vaccinated. They have asked countries to hold on giving third doses until more lower-income countries have more vaccinations available.

“There is increasing evidence that there are some populations … who don’t respond to the vaccine as well as the general population does,” Kate O’Brien, WHO’s director of immunizations, vaccines, and biologicals, said in a statement. “We don’t want that to be confused with the policy … of whether booster doses should be given.”

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