In the United States, there are roughly 7 million individuals who may be categorized as immunocompromised. For those who were moderately or severely immunocompromised, their immune systems may not have exhibited a sufficient reaction to the original two doses of Pfizer or Moderna when they received it. In reaction to this concern, the Director of the CDC, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, had signed a recommendation for a third vaccine shot for these qualifying individuals.
The purpose of the third shot is to provide the immunocompromised the boost they need to have as much protection as individuals who exhibited proper responses to their two shots. This is especially important with the likes of the Delta variant lurking about now. Unfortunately, all of this only involves the Pfizer or the Moderna vaccine recipients. Those who received the Johnson and Johnson vaccine shot have not yet been cleared for an additional shot as additional research is needed. But let’s take a closer look into why the immunocompromised may need this crucial third shot…
Low Immune Response Means Less Defense
According to the CDC, while most people are enjoying protection of 90% or higher, immunocompromised individuals have been exhibiting a protection range of 59% to 72%, significantly lower than they should have. That isn’t all, though. Some immunocompromised individuals even exhibited zero immune response after receiving the vaccine, leaving them far more vulnerable to COVID-19 considering their heightened likelihood of getting sick in general.
Looking at the Breakthrough Cases
You may have been noticing the phrase “breakthrough cases” as the COVID-19 pandemic is continually covered—cases that occur to people, even though they were vaccinated. Of this affected group, one study in the US found that 44% of breakthrough cases involved an immunocompromised individual. That’s almost half of those affected, which shows the alarming vulnerability that these individuals are experiencing, even with a vaccine flowing through their veins.
CDC Recommendations for Moving Forward
The CDC has recommended that the additional third shot be received at least 28 days after getting your initial two doses of Pfizer or Moderna. Focus was placed on the Pfizer and Moderna mRNA vaccines because it is assumed that the majority of vaccine recipients have received either Pfizer or Moderna vaccinations.
It should be made clear that these additional shots are not the same as the booster shots that everyone else will be getting. For now, booster shots are still being researched and investigated, but it is expected that they will be needed as vaccine protection begins to wear off. However, so far both the FDA and CDC have not found evidence that the booster shot is necessary, but they are keeping a close eye on the numbers to see if this changes as the situation evolves.
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