Dayton heart transplant recipient discusses COVID-19 vaccine booster shot

Miami Valley News

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – With a COVID-19 booster shot now recommended for people who are immunocompromised, a Dayton man who received a heart transplant is considering his plans to get a third dose.

Travis Hatch from East Dayton said after his first two shots of the COVID-19 vaccine, he had no antibodies from the vaccine.

“My first thought was, why am I going to get a booster shot if the first shots didn’t work? What am I boosting? I don’t have any antibodies,” Hatch said.

Hatch was diagnosed with heart disease at age 21 and had a heart transplant in February 2020.

Like all organ transplant recipients, Hatch is on immunosuppresant drugs in order to prevent his body from rejecting his new heart.

Those medications make it harder for the Pfizer and Moderna mRNA vaccines to develop the full amount of antibodies.

“The purpose of this additional recommended dose is to strengthen the immune response, that initial immune response to the primary vaccination series may not have been sufficient,” Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff said.

The CDC announced their recommendation for the FDA authorized booster Friday.

Though uncertain if it will work, Hatch said he plans to get the shot if his doctors recommend it.

“I’m still not sure if I get the booster, I’ll have antibodies, but there’s always the chance I’m going to, so I personally am going to do the shot,” Hatch said.

While he’s without that immune protection against COVID-19, he’s encouraging those who are still hesitating to get the vaccine.

“There’s risk in everything that we do and everything that we take,” Hatch said. “I don’t think there’s any more risk of anything we do in every day life.”

The CDC recommends the third dose is administered at least 28 days after the two dose series.

Less than 3% of the US and Ohio’s population are immunocompromised and would be eligible for the third shot.

This guidance currently does not apply to the single dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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