The Louisiana Department of Health is making third doses of COVID-19 -- a so-called "booster" -- available for people whose immune systems are compromised moderately to severely and are fully vaccinated with the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. The additional shot will provide more protection for the most at-risk individuals during the current Delta surge.
On Friday the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control recommended people with moderately to severely compromised immune systems receive an additional dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine at least 28 days after their second dose. This does not apply to the Johnson & Johnson vaccine which is a one-dose treatment. CDC does not recommend additional doses or booster shots for any other population at this time.
Patients may self-attest to their condition by completing and signing the online form at ldh.la.gov/assets/oph/Center-CP/HANs/HANS21-58Attachment-3rdDose.... LDH has also asked vaccine providers to have these forms available for patients to complete.
Widespread vaccination is a critical tool to help stop the pandemic. Read CDC’s full statement at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/recommendations/immun...
WHO NEEDS AN ADDITIONAL COVID-19 VACCINE
People who are moderately to severely immunocompromised are especially vulnerable to COVID-19 because they are more at risk of serious, prolonged illness. People who have compromised immune systems may benefit from an additional dose to make sure they have enough protection against COVID-19.
CDC recommends people who are moderately to severely immunocompromised should receive an additional dose of mRNA COVID-19 vaccine after their initial 2 doses.
Currently, CDC is recommending that moderately to severely immunocompromised people receive an additional dose. This includes 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 2 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 your immune response
*Other conditions which cause moderate or severe immunosuppression similar to the above conditions
People should talk to their healthcare provider about their medical condition, and whether getting an additional dose is appropriate for them.
Prescription or notation from a physician or other prescriber is not necessary at this time. Patients with one of the above conditions who wish to receive an additional dose of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine may self-attest to their condition by completing and signing a form.
The COVID-19 vaccine is free and widely available in Louisiana. To find a provider near you, call the Louisiana COVID-19 Vaccine Hotline at 1-855-453-0774, search vaccines.gov or text your ZIP code to 438829 or check your local pharmacy’s website to see if vaccination walk-ins or appointments are available
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
1. How long after getting my initial two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine can I get an additional dose?
CDC recommends the additional dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine be administered at least four weeks after a second dose of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.
2. Can you mix and match the vaccines?
For people who received either Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine series, a third dose of the same mRNA vaccine should be used. A person should not receive more than three mRNA vaccine doses. If the mRNA vaccine product given for the first two doses is not available or is unknown, either mRNA COVID-19 vaccine product may be administered.
3. What should immunocompromised people who received the J&J/Janssen vaccine do?
The FDA’s recent EUA amendment only applies to mRNA COVID-19 vaccines, as does CDC’s recommendation. Emerging data have demonstrated that immunocompromised people who have low or no protection following two doses of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines may have an improved response after an additional dose of the same vaccine. There is not enough data at this time to determine whether immunocompromised people who received the Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen COVID-19 vaccine also have an improved antibody response following an additional dose of the same vaccine.
4. What are the benefits of people receiving an additional vaccine dose?
At a time when the Delta variant is surging, an additional vaccine dose for some people with weakened immune systems could help prevent serious and possibly life-threatening COVID-19 cases within this population.
5. What are the risks of vaccinating individuals with an additional dose?
There is limited information about the risks of receiving an additional dose of vaccine, and the safety, efficacy and benefit of additional doses of COVID-19 vaccine in immunocompromised people continues to be evaluated. So far, reactions reported after the third mRNA dose were similar to that of the two-dose series. Fatigue and pain at injection site were the most commonly reported side effects, and overall, most symptoms were mild to moderate. However, as with the two-dose series, serious side effects are rare, but may occur. Report any serious side effect to the National Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS) at VAERS.hhs.gov