FDA Authorizes Additional Vaccine Doses for Some Immunocompromised People
The Authorization Would Impact Roughly Three Percent of the U.S. Population
DULUTH, Minn. – Those with organ transplants, a cancer diagnosis, or an immune disorder could be the first people to receive a third shot of the COVID-19 vaccine.
This, after U.S. health regulators have authorized an extra dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines in people with weakened immune systems to better protect them from the virus.
“After two shots, that really high-level immunity that’s achieved in healthy people is not achieved in these individuals,” said Dr. Marc Jenkins, an immunologist with the University of Minnesota Medical School.
The announcement by the Food and Drug Administration applies to millions of Americans who take immune-suppressing medicines because of organ transplants, cancer, or other disorders.
The decision does not apply to otherwise healthy individuals.
Dr. Jenkins explains why these patients would be the first to receive a booster shot before the general public.
“Transplant patients are taking all the time immunosuppressive drugs that inhibit their immune system and prevent the rejection of their transplanted organ. So those drugs inhibit the lymphocytes that person needs to respond to the vaccine,” said Jenkins.
The director of the CDC says this would amount to roughly three percent of the U.S. population that would first be eligible for a third dose.
Health authorities are closely monitoring if and when the general population will need a booster shot but say, for now, the vaccines continue to be highly effective in most healthy people.