Those with weakened immune systems can start getting third COVID shot
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Those with weakened immune systems can start getting a third shot of the COVID-19 vaccine.
The third shot is still free and available now to people with weakened immune systems who have already received two doses of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.
“These are people who don’t make antibodies well, so this is actually just a three-shot series for a certain group of people as compared to what will probably someday be a recommendation for booster shots for all the rest of us,” said State Health Officer for the Alabama Department of Public Health, Dr. Scott Harris.
The FDA approved the additional shot last Friday.
ADPH has released guidance to county health departments and other providers in the state.
But Dr. Harris said you probably won’t need documentation to get it.
“Generally speaking, your doctor’s going to help you decided if you’re a person who needs to get this additional shot or not, so starting with that step will probably make it pretty easy to get,” Dr. Harris said.
Dr. Harris said less than 3% of the American population qualifies for the additional shot, which includes people who are moderately or severely immuno-suppressed.
“People who’ve had organ transplants, like a kidney transplant, or a heart transplant, as well as people that are on chemotherapy for certain types of blood cancers, or people on chronic high-dose steroids,” Dr. Harris explained.
Those who have had a stem cell transplant, take other drugs that suppress immune response, or anyone with advanced or untreated HIV should also consider getting a third COVID shot.
“The more opportunities you give someone to make antibodies, you know, the more likely the are to do so. The data right now show that those people are protected a little bit better with three shots than they are with two,” Dr. Harris said.
Dr. Harris said your third COVID shot should be the same as the first two doses.
It’s unclear when the rest of the population will be approved for a COVID booster, but he anticipates that information will be available in the coming months.
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