ODH: 3rd COVID shot only for those who are immunocompromised

Additional vaccine recommendation is not a booster, but an adjustment, Vanderhoff said.

A third COVID-19 vaccine dose is only recommended for those who have compromised immune systems, said Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, chief medical officer for the Ohio Department of Health.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently recommended an additional coronavirus shot for those who are immunocompromised and received the two-dose Moderna and Pfizer coronavirus vaccine series.

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“This is a recommendation for a very small group of individuals, individuals who are at heightened risk for severe outcomes from COVID-19,” Vanderhoff said during a Friday media briefing.

“This recommendation is not a booster dose recommendation. It’s an adjustment, it’s an extension of the primary series recommendation,” he said.

It is estimated those who are severely immunocompromised make up less than 3% of the U.S. and Ohio population, he said, and may include those who have had organ transplants, some cancer patients and those with other advanced diseases who maybe did not develop as robust of an immune response following the initial vaccine series.

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The recommendation is that the third shot be administered at least 28 days after completion of the primary two-dose series. Vanderhoff said people should consult their physician to determine whether they should receive the vaccine booster.

An additional shot is not recommended for those who received the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Data does not suggest that a booster would be necessary for others, he said, despite the surge in COVID-19 cases amid the emergence of the delta variant, which Vanderhoff said is primarily affecting those who did not receive any vaccine doses.

“It is spreading like wildfire among the unvaccinated,” Vanderhoff said.

For those with conditions that make them immunocompromised, their primary series should probably be a three-dose series, and for the rest of the population the two-dose Moderna and Pfizer and one-dose J&J series are more than adequate, he said.

“We would strongly discourage people who do not fall into this narrow category from getting an additional dose for the simple reason that the data don’t suggest it’s necessary,” Vanderhoff said.

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