FDA Authorizes Third Dose of COVID-19 Vaccine for Patients with Weak Immune Systems

FDA Authorizes Third Dose of COVID-19 Vaccine for Patients with Weak Immune Systems

     The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized, yesterday, third shots of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines for the millions of Americans who are immunocompromised, so that they can better build immunity against COVID and its many variants.

     The FDA said that a third vaccine dose, which Israel and France have already started provided for immunocompromised patients, will better help protect the 2.7% of American adults with weakened immune systems, as the delta variant continues to rage nationwide.

     Not only are immunocompromised patients less able to build immunity after receiving mRNA vaccines, which miraculously protect against infectious diseases by triggering immune responses, but the many medications of immunocompromised patients also may contribute to poor vaccine responses.

     For instance, one study shows that researchers found that of more than 650 transplant recipients, just more than half revealed virus-fighting antibodies after receiving two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.

     In July, a panel of advisors to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) met and emphasized the necessity of extra doses vaccine doses for immunocompromised adults.

    "Emerging data show that certain people who are immune compromised, such as people who have had an organ transplant and some cancer patients, may not have had an adequate immune response to just two doses of the COVID vaccine,” Dr. Rochelle Walensky, MD, MPH, the director of the CDC said yesterday of the “very small population,” an estimated 2.7% of adults who are immunocompromised.

    Organ transplant recipients, patients undergoing cancer treatment, patients with HIV, and others with infectious diseases are considered “immunocompromised.”

     Although the FDA’s decision to provide a third vaccine shot does not yet apply to healthy Americans, Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious,  said Thursday that it is “likely” that all Americans will require booster shots against COVID-19 “ in the future.”

    "Inevitably there will be a time when we’ll have to get boosts," Dr. Fauci said on NBC's "TODAY Show" today, because "no vaccine, at least not within this category, is going to have an indefinite amount of protection."

(Mike Groll/Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo)

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