A CDC advisory committee is recommending that moderately to severely immunocompromised people get an additional dose of either the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.
Health care professionals say getting a third vaccine or booster is important for those who are immunocompromised because they won't necessarily develop enough antibodies after the first two doses.
Now that the COVID-19 vaccine is available to the general public, some health care providers are being asked, "When can I get a third dose?" For most immunocompromised individuals, the answer is soon.
"CDC has a number of resources they use and specifically they use an FDA advisory committee on vaccinations and I think it was yesterday (Thursday) that they made the recommendation that they go ahead," said Dr. Brian Roberts, Med Stop Urgent Care Emergency Medicine specialist.
Friday, the CDC announced new guidance regarding COVID-19 booster vaccines for the immunocompromised, recommending they get an additional dose of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine. Doctor Roberts says this is crucial given the volume of hospital patients who are immunocompromised with COVID-19.
"Almost everyone has heard that about 98 percent of the hospitalized patients now in America are unvaccinated and that's true, but if you take a deeper dive looking at those who are vaccinated and hospitalized, 40 percent of those are immune suppressed in some significant way, and yet they represent much less than 3 percent of the population," Roberts said.
The booster will provide those who are immunocompromised with additional protection.
"Many studies have shown that immune-suppressed patients, after their usual two-shot regiment, do not develop any antibodies or a very low amount. Happily though, this booster has been studied and fully a third to one half will develop antibodies after that third booster shot," Roberts said.
SLO County health officials say distribution details are still being worked out, but more information will be available in the coming days.
Information regarding who qualifies for a booster dose is available on the CDC's website.