By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
A third dose of the coronavirus vaccine is now being recommended for a select group of Wyoming residents with certain medical conditions by the Wyoming Department of Health.
Dr. Alexia Harrist, state health officer, said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends people with moderately to severely compromised immune systems should receive an additional dose of the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines.
“National experts are seeing that people who are moderately to severely immunocompromised are especially vulnerable to COVID-19 because they are more at risk of serious, prolonged illness,” she said. “An additional dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines can help these people make sure they have enough protection against COVID-19.”
Harrist said those who should consider an additional vaccine dose at this time include people who have:
- Been receiving active cancer treatment for tumors or cancers of the blood
- Received an organ transplant and are taking medicine to suppress the immune system
- Received a stem cell transplant within the last two years or are taking medicine to suppress the immune system
- Moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (such as DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome)
- Advanced or untreated HIV infection
- Active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids or other drugs that may suppress immune response
Added doses have not yet been authorized or recommended and are not available at this time for people without compromised immune systems or who may have received the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
The additional dose for people with compromised immune systems should be administered at least 28 days after the original vaccination series is completed. Residents with questions on whether they should consider the additional dose are encouraged to discuss the recommendation with their regular medical professional.
“The authorized vaccines each continue to offer solid protection from infection for Wyoming residents, including against the Delta variant,” Harrist said.
An updated WDH review of more than 7,000 lab-confirmed and probable cases identified among Wyoming residents age 18 and older between May 1 and August 10 showed just over 95% of the infected individuals did not report being fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
During the same period, of the nearly 350 persons infected by COVID-19 who were hospitalized at the time they were interviewed by public health representatives, just under 95% did not report being fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
Harrist continued to encourage residents to seek out free, safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines, which remain readily available across Wyoming.
“As always, we will continue sharing information about future vaccine-related recommendations,” she said.
A person is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after two doses of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or two weeks after one dose of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine.
This announcement comes just one day after Gov. Mark Gordon told reporters that there would be no vaccine or mask mandates coming from his office.
As of Monday, Wyoming had 2,083 active COVID-19 cases and 112 COVID-related hospitalizations. Gordon said his office is in regular communication with Harrist and the Department of Health about making health recommendations, rather than mandates.
“I think it’s advisable to wear masks, but there are those who feel very strongly that masks are not the appropriate measure to take,” he said.