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CDC endorses third dose of Pfizer, Moderna vaccines for the immunocompromised; LSU Health infectious diseases expert reacts

Millions of Americans are immunocompromised
Published: Aug. 13, 2021 at 7:42 PM CDT
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CDC and FDA endorse having immunocompromised receive a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
CDC and FDA endorse having immunocompromised receive a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.(WTVY - Kinsley Centers)
FDA and CDC approved a vaccine booster for people with compromised immune systems
FDA and CDC approved a vaccine booster for people with compromised immune systems(WALB)

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - It is official, some people with compromised immune systems who received one of the two-dose COVID-19 vaccines can get a third dose.

On Friday, a panel of CDC advisers voted unanimously to allow a third vaccine dose for people with certain conditions and those who are moderately to severely immunocompromised.

“And the aye’s have it and the recommendation is adopted,” said a member of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.

Dr. Julio Figueroa commented on the decision to allow a third shot.

“There’s been the focus on transplant recipients and then there are a few other conditions that are sort of in that as well, so I think that’s just basically following the science and following what we’re seeing. I can tell you that from my personal experience that there definitely have been individuals who have been hospitalized, who have had these conditions who’ve had the vaccine and have gotten sick, so I think that is very reasonable,” said Figueroa.

Less than 24 hours earlier the FDA gave emergency use authorization for a third dose for people who had a poor immune response to the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. No decision has been made related to the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

“So, transplant patients, certain types of immunosuppressive drugs, prednisone above a certain level, certain types of chemotherapy, certain other individuals with very low immune systems,” said Figueroa.

He said some prescriptions medicines can lead to immunosuppression.

“Absolutely, so steroid medications, other types of medications that are used for rheumatoid arthritis or for other types of rheumatologic conditions but it’s not all of them, so that’s the thing. And those do have and have long been known to have an effect on vaccination efficacy in those populations no matter what the vaccine is,” said Figueroa.

Still, Figueroa and other infectious disease experts urged the immunocompromised to get vaccinated, if they have not already done so.

“Absolutely, in fact actually that is a huge reason to do it because there are some individuals who do respond and some response is better than no response,” said Figueroa.

CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walenksy issued a statement:

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