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Immunocompromised? The CDC Says It Might Be Time To Get A Booster Shot Of The COVID-19 Vaccine

The Moderna and Pfizer vaccine bottles compared during Juneau’s COVID-19 vaccine clinic at Centennial Hall on Jan. 15, 2021 in Juneau. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says immunocompromised people should get a third, booster dose of the vac
Rashah McChesney

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has paved the way for vulnerable Alaskans to get a third, booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. The Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation will reach out to patients who qualify.

On Aug. 13, the CDC said that people who got the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines could get a third dose. The idea is to help prevent serious infections in people with weakened immune systems.  

In a prepared statement, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky called it an “important step in ensuring everyone, including those most vulnerable to COVID-19, can get as much protection as possible from the COVID-19 vaccination.”

About 3% of the U.S. adult population is at risk for serious, prolonged illness, according to CDC data. That’s close to 10 million people. 

YKHC is offering booster shots at the Bethel hospital and at village clinics across the region. YKHC Vice President of Communications Tiffany Zulkosky said that the health corporation is compiling a list of patients who qualify. YKHC is coordinating this information with the Alaska Native Medical Center in Anchorage. YKHC then plans to reach out to eligible patients to set up appointments. The health corporation encourages anyone who has not been contacted by YKHC who believes they are eligible for the booster shot to contact their local village clinic or the COVID-19 hotline at 907- 543-6949.

So, who should take a third dose? The CDC says people who meet the following conditions: 

  • 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, or Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome)
  • Advanced or untreated HIV infection
  • Active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids or other drugs that may suppress your immune response

The Moderna vaccine is approved for people 18 or older. The Pfizer vaccine is approved for people 12 or older. The CDC recommends getting a booster dose of the vaccine four weeks after the second dose. The agency also says that people should try to get a third shot of whatever their first round of shots was. But if that’s not available, an additional dose with another vaccine is okay. 
Earlier this week, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also authorized an additional dose of certain vaccines. But because there isn’t enough data, the FDA didn’t extend its authorization to include the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.  

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