Immunocompromised may need fourth COVID-19 shot

Published: Nov. 10, 2021 at 4:06 PM CST
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - More people may soon be eligible to get a booster COVID-19 vaccine. Pfizer is asking for approval for those 18 years and older to get a third shot after six months, but some people may be looking at more shots than that.

This would include those who are immunocompromised. These are patients whose immune system is not working as well as others, such as those who are battling cancer, who have diabetes, those with HIV or even those with organ transplants.

The CDC has already approved a third booster for those who have certain health conditions. These patients are more vulnerable to COVID-19 and their immune system may not work as well.

A study at Johns Hopkins University showed immunocompromised people were 485 times more likely to end up hospitalized even if they were vaccinated. This group represents about 44% of the breakthrough cases. Dr. Wesley Willeford with the Jefferson County Department of Health said there is a chance those with health conditions could be looking a possible fourth shot in the future.

“I think that is something the CDC is discussing, and the last I had heard they are talking about six months after that third dose they would have received. I think that is how it’s going to shake out,” Willeford said.

Dr. Willeford said those who are immunocompromised need to take all the necessary steps to protect themselves. Even if they are vaccinated, health experts say they should still consider wearing masks in certain situations and socially distance from people whose vaccination status is unknown.


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