Booster shot of COVID vaccine available for some with weakened immune systems

The decision offers an extra dose only to those high-risk groups — not the general public.
Published: Aug. 17, 2021 at 6:46 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 17, 2021 at 8:09 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Doctors are prepared to administer a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine for people with weakened immune systems.

The Food and Drug Administration ruled people who are immunocompromised can get the third shot.

According to the CDC, people who are eligible for the booster shot are:

  • People in active cancer treatment; those who have received organ transplants and are taking immunosuppressive therapy
  • People who have received CAR-T cell or blood stem cell transplants
  • People who suffer from moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (such as those with DiGeorge or Wiskott-Aldrich syndromes)
  • People with advanced, untreated, or unknown status HIV infection
  • People taking 20 milligrams or more of prednisone or similar corticosteroid every day, alkylating agents, antimetabolites, transplant-related immunosuppressive drugs, severely immunosuppressive cancer chemotherapeutic agents, TNF blockers, and other biologic agents that are immunosuppressive or immunomodulatory

The Floyd County Health Department in Indiana started administering the third shot on Monday.

Dr. Tom Harris said an estimated 3 percent of the population would be eligible, which would be around 2,300 people in Floyd County.

He went on to say that early data suggests it’s safe for most people actively going through treatment.

“It’s not a live vaccine, it’s an mRNA vaccine,” Harris said. “So there’s very few contra-indications for getting the vaccine. It really comes down, mostly, to recognizing that you are immune-compromised, and getting the vaccination.”

At UofL Health, Dr. Jason Smith said they’re still waiting on guidance from the state of Kentucky on how to move forward. He hopes they can give the shot this week.

“We’re working on a program for our own patients in transplant and cancer, who have immune-suppressing diseases,” Smith said. “We’re making sure we’re getting out to them and getting them to come in this week so we can work through those plans.”

Smith and Harris are reminding the rest of the community to get their initial vaccinations as well.

US officials are expected to expand the recommendation to the general public, but it’s not clear exactly when that recommendation will be official.

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