Booster Shots for Immune-Compromised People
The Food and Drug Administration authorized an additional COVID vaccine dose for people who recieved an mRNA vaccine and who also have certain immune compromised conditions.
Studies both in the lab and “in real life” showed that some immune compromised individuals do not develop the appropriate immune response from the recommended shots.
We know that these individuals are more likely to develop COVID-19 and spread it to others. For this reason, the authorization of an extra dose is great news for our immune-compromised patients, their families, and the community. It is especially good that the authorization is based on evidence, rather than the fear that was driving early discussion about additional shots.
Here are the top three things you need to know:
#1: Those who meet the criteria can get an extra dose starting immediately at SVHC’s COVID Resource Center. Clinic hours are 2 - 6 p.m. Monday - Wednesday and 8 a.m. - noon Thursday -Saturday. It is located in the gym of the former Southern Vermont College campus at 981 Mansion Dr. in Bennington. Schedule online at svmcvaccine.timetap.com. Walkins are accespted. People qualify if they:
- Been receiving active cancer treatment for tumors or cancers of the blood
- Received an organ transplant and are taking medicine to suppress the immune system
- Received a stem cell transplant within the last 2 years or are taking medicine to suppress the immune system
- Moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (such as DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome)
- Advanced or untreated HIV infection
- Active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids or other drugs that may suppress your immune response
- If you are unsure about whether you qualify, ask your healthcare provider.
People in a few other very rare situations also qualify. People will be asked to attest to having one of the qualifying conditions. No verification from a healthcare provider is required.
#2: The third dose should be at least 28 days from the second dose.
#3: Those who originally received an mRNA vaccine will be offered the same vaccine. Those who originally received Johnson & Johnson are not recommended to get a second shot at this time.
It is possible for recommendations to change as we learn more about booster shots. Please stay tuned to trusted sources of news, like the Food and Drug Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Vermont Department of Health, and svhealthcare.org for additional information as it becomes available.
Trey Dobson, MD, is the chief medical officer for Southwestern Vermont Medical Center in Bennington.