CDC Now Recommending Third Vaccine Booster For Everyone

in News/Coronavirus

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Just one day after the Wyoming Department of Health recommended a third COVID-19 vaccine dose for immunocompromised people, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officially did the same, but extending the recommendation to all people who have been vaccinated against the virus.

A number of health officials on Wednesday said that a third vaccine dose will be offered beginning the week of Sept. 20. The booster is recommended to be taken eight months after the person’s second Moderna or Pfizer dose.

“[Around Sept. 20], the individuals who were fully vaccinated earliest in the vaccination rollout, including many health care providers, nursing home residents, and other seniors, will likely be eligible for a booster,” read a statement from health officials, which included White House chief medical advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci. “We would also begin efforts to deliver booster shots directly to residents of long-term care facilities at that time, given the distribution of vaccines to this population early in the vaccine rollout and the continued increased risk that COVID-19 poses to them.”

Available data has shown that the vaccine’s protection decreases over time following initial doses. With the Delta variant being so contagious, health officials are seeing evidence of reduced protection against mild and moderate cases of the disease.

“Based on our latest assessment, the current protection against severe disease, hospitalization, and death could diminish in the months ahead, especially among those who are at higher risk or were vaccinated during the earlier phases of the vaccination rollout,” the officials said. “For that reason, we conclude that a booster shot will be needed to maximize vaccine-induced protection and prolong its durability.”

The officials anticipated booster shots will likely be needed for people who received the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, but more data will be released on this in a few weeks.

“Our top priority remains staying ahead of the virus and protecting the American people from COVID-19 with safe, effective, and long-lasting vaccines especially in the context of a constantly changing virus and epidemiologic landscape,” they said. “We will continue to follow the science on a daily basis, and we are prepared to modify this plan should new data emerge that requires it.”

This week, Wyoming health officer Dr. Alexia 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

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.

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.

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