Some immunocompromising medical conditions were approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on August 12th to receive third dose booster shots. This is an amendment to the emergency use authorization (EUA) for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.
Acting FDA Commissioner Dr. Janet Woodcock said, “Today’s action allows doctors to boost immunity in certain immunocompromised individuals who need extra protection from COVID-19. As we’ve previously stated, other individuals who are fully vaccinated are adequately protected and do not need an additional dose of COVID-19 vaccine at this time.”
This action by the FDA starts the process for Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommendations for a third shot. That came on August 13, 2021. “The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices’ (ACIP) signed the recommendation that endorsed the use of an additional dose of COVID-19 vaccine for people with moderately to severely compromised immune systems after an initial two-dose vaccine series.”
Who would be approved for a booster shot?
Approximately 2.7 percent of American adults are immunocompromised in some way. These are people whose immune response lacks the strength to fight off most infections. A number of conditions can influence immunity, such as HIV, organ transplants, and some cancers. While two vaccine doses give some immunity, the antibodies don’t last as long as in healthy individuals with strong immune systems.
Israeli study of vaccines for cancer patients leads to third shots in Israel
A study in Israel’s Rabin Medical Center in Petah Tikva observed 87 percent of cancer patients still had high antibody levels after four months. But in healthy people, the antibodies remained at 100 percent. While a good response for the cancer patients, the observed drop in levels over time reveals compromised protection. It is thought booster shots will add immunity strength and also the length of time antibodies stay active in protecting the body.
There is also a benefit to the overall population as reducing infections in this compromised group should reduce the threat of additional variants. It is thought new variants likely begin in immunocompromised individuals.
Does the booster shot apply to you?
The CDC provides a list of qualified immunity challenges, however, the best answer is to discuss your situation with your medical provider.