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CDC Panel Recommends Third Dose for Some with Weakened Immune Systems


FILE - In this Jan. 20, 2021, file photo, people that received a COVID-19 vaccine socially distance as they wait the required fifteen minutes to monitor for adverse reactions after getting the shot at Fair Park in Dallas.

A U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention panel Friday recommended a third shot of the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine for some people with weakened immune systems following a Thursday authorization by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices voted 11-0 on the matter. CDC Director Rochelle Walensky must give a final sign-off.

The CDC said those seeking a booster will not need a prescription or proof from a health care provider saying they are immunocompromised, Reuters reported.

“It will be a patient's attestation, and there will be no requirement for proof or prescription or a recommendation from an individual's health care provider,” CDC official Dr. Amanda Cohn said, speaking before the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practice vote.

Director of the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, Janet Woodcock speaks during a news conference at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration building on June 14, 2011.
Director of the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, Janet Woodcock speaks during a news conference at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration building on June 14, 2011.

“The FDA is especially cognizant that immunocompromised people are particularly at risk for severe disease,” the agency’s acting commissioner, Dr. Janet Woodcock, said in a statement late Thursday.

“Other individuals who are fully vaccinated are adequately protected,” Woodcock said, “and do not need an additional dose of COVID-19 vaccine at this time.”

Scientists have been debating whether to offer extra doses of COVID-19 vaccines to certain immunocompromised people, such as organ transplant recipients or cancer patients. A recent study by Johns Hopkins University found that many transplant patients had little to no antibody protections after receiving the full two doses of a vaccine, but a third shot boosted their protection.

People eligible for a third shot should wait at least 28 days after their second shot.

It remains unclear if or when a third dose could be recommended for all Americans.

“We believe sooner or later you will need a booster for durability of protection” – but not yet, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government’s top infectious diseases expert, told reporters this week.

Some information in this report came from Reuters.

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