Tips for those immunocompromised with 3rd COVID-19 booster now ready

With the Biden Administration encouraging and approving COVID-19 booster shots beginning in September for those already vaccinated, the Knox County Health Department is echoing Centers for Disease Control recommendations that those who are immunocompromised receive a third shot sooner.

“What has currently been approved is an additional (third) dose of mRNA vaccine for those who are moderately and severely immunocompromised, said Kelsey Wilson, division director of communications for KCHD. “This is not a booster dose. An additional dose is for when the initial immune response following a primary vaccine series is likely to be insufficient, which is the case for those who are immunocompromised. A booster dose is when the initial sufficient immune response to a primary vaccine series is likely to have waned over time.

“This additional dose for those who are immunocompromised should be administered at least 28 days after the completion of the initial vaccine series,” she added.

“We are urging those who think they may qualify for a third dose of the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to speak with their provider. If they qualify, make plans to get the third dose with their provider as the provider is most familiar with the individual’s medical history.

Third dose qualifiers

She further shared that “the CDC states individuals with the following conditions qualify for a third dose:”

• Those receiving active cancer treatment for tumors or cancers of the blood;

• Those who have received an organ transplant and are taking medicine to suppress the immune system;

• Those who have received a stem cell transplant within the last two years or are taking medicine to suppress the immune system;

• Those who have moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (such as DiGeorge syndrome or Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome);

• Those with advanced or untreated HIV infection; and

• Those who are undergoing active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids or other drugs that may suppress your immune response.