FDA expected to authorize booster shot for immunocompromised people

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DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – A third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine could soon be on the way for a specific group of people.

The FDA is considering authorizing a booster shot for those who are immunocompromised.

Health officials say people who are immunocompromised are more likely to contract a severe case of COVID-19, and less likely to have all the antibodies they need from their first doses.

Chief Medical Officer at Miami Valley Hospital Dr. Roberto Colon said there are a couple reasons why a booster would be needed. Colon said the first reason is that our immunity wanes over time.

“For some individuals, that happens faster than others,” Colon said. “People who have weakened immune systems may not get as high of immune response to begin with, or may have a more rapid dropping off of those protective antibodies.”

The CDC estimates around 2.7% of Americans are immunocompromised.

This includes people who have had organ transplants, have HIV, or are undergoing chemotherapy. It’s unclear which groups would be included in the FDA’s authorization.

Colon said the next reason boosters are needed is when there’s a significant change in the virus, like what we see with the flu vaccine.

“We haven’t yet seen it to this degree with coronavirus, with COVID-19, but with flu, every year we get a different vaccine,” Colon said.

While this authorization wouldn’t apply to the general public, some said they’d be willing to get a third shot if necessary to curb COVID-19.

“When we had the smallpox vaccine, like the flu vaccine come out, we didn’t know what was in it, but we still got it because like it’s going to help everybody later on,” Dayton resident Cecilia Leopold said.

Colon said as boosters are discussed even more, some may have concerns over what kinds of symptoms it might have.

“Some of the early data we’re seeing from places, like Israel, that have had a bigger group of individuals that have gone through a booster, are starting show that the third dose aren’t very different than they were for the second dose,” Colon said.

If authorized by the FDA, the CDC is expected to hold a vote Friday to decided if they will officially recommend the booster.

Colon said as data comes in over time, more groups might be recommended to get a booster as well.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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