The increase of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in California has prompted health officials to recommend a vaccine booster shot for those individuals with compromised immune systems.
The Stanislaus County Health Services Agency is advising immunocompromised individuals get a third dose of the vaccine, especially as the more transmissible Delta variant continues to spread in the region.
The California Department of Public Health also has recommended a third shot for some individuals.
“As California continues to see an increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, it is critical we take action to protect immunocompromised people who are most vulnerable to severe disease,” said Dr. Tomás J. Aragón, CDPH Director and State Public Health Officer. “Following the FDA’s determination that a third dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine is beneficial for people who are immunocompromised, the California Department of Public Health and our partners in the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup have conducted an additional review and recommend providers boost immunity for this population to ensure extra protection from COVID-19. Those who are not in this population and are fully vaccinated continue to be protected against the virus and do not need additional immunization against COVID-19 at this time.”
The Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have approved an additional dose of the Pfizer and Moderna COVID‐19 vaccines for immunocompromised people. The FDA has amended the Emergency Use Authorization for these vaccines to allow for a third dose which can be given no sooner than 28 days following the second dose of the vaccine.
Ideally individuals should be vaccinated with the same vaccine they received for the first and second dose, but if that is not possible, receiving a third dose with another mRNA vaccine is acceptable.
Although the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines work very well in most people, there is evidence that those who are severely immunocompromised are not fully protected after receiving two doses and some in this small, vulnerable group benefit from a third dose. Certain medical conditions or the treatments used for specific conditions may prevent the immune system from responding adequately to two doses of the vaccine and would require an additional dose to provide enough protection from COVID‐19.
People who qualify for a third dose include organ transplant recipients, those undergoing cancer treatment, people with advanced or untreated HIV, and those on certain immunosuppressive medications.
Stanislaus County Health Services Agency encourages people who may fall into this group to talk to their doctor to discuss the need for a third dose and the best timing for this additional dose. Third doses of the vaccines will be available through vaccination sites that currently offer Pfizer or Moderna vaccines. Public health will accept self‐attestation of a qualifying medical condition at their sites.
A follow‐up dose is not currently recommended for those who have received a single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The FDA is still evaluating data on the effectiveness of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in immune compromised individuals.
COVID‐19 vaccine booster doses are not for the general public at this time. However, that could be changing soon as health officials examine the data and consider booster shots for everyone around the eight month mark.
As of Monday, Stanislaus County stands at 62,520 cases, with 2,114 presumed active and 1,108 deaths. There are 214 hospitalized, with 44 in the ICU. Numbers for the county include 2,030 cases in Oakdale and 2,732 in Riverbank.