CHARLOTTE, NC - The federal government encourages at-risk patients to get the third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. David Priest, a chief safety, quality, and epidemiology officer at Novant Health, answers some of the most frequently asked questions about the third dose.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) along with Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has allowed the distribution of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines as an additional third dose to immunocompromised individuals under the emergency use authorizations (EUAs). Those individuals include, particularly, solid organ transplant recipients, or those with conditions that can cause the same level of immunocompromise.
After a thorough review of the available data, the FDA determined that this small, vulnerable group may benefit from a third dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna Vaccines,” said Janet Woodcock, Acting FDA Commissioner. “Today’s action allows doctors to boost immunity in certain immunocompromised individuals who need extra protection from COVID-19."
Priest explains that high risk individuals can get the third dose at least eight months after the second one. It is safe for you to get a different vaccine brand for the third dose if the initial brand you received is not available. For instance, if you were given Pfizer for the first two doses, it is okay to get Moderna for the third one. However, using the same vaccine brand is still recommended. Guidance on Johnson & Johnson will follow soon.
A booster third dose is recommended mainly because the highly contagious delta variant. Individuals infected with the variant can spread it to five to nine people around them. Getting as many people vaccinated as possible will prevent the occurrence of a new, more dangerous variant.
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