The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that the scientists at the CDC now recommend a third dosage of the Pfizer and Moderna Covid-19 vaccines for persons with compromised immune systems earlier on Friday evening.
Shortly after the Vaccine Advisory Committee unanimously recommended an increase in the number of additional vaccinations, Walensky’s recommendation came in.
Late Thursday, the FDA revised the emergency use authorizations for the two mRNA shots to include an additional dose for solid-organ transplant patients “or those diagnosed with conditions with an equivalent level of immunocompromise.”
The CDC’s suggestion that details who is “moderately to severely” immunocompromised is spelled out in more depth in the CDC’s advice for healthcare practitioners. People who fall into this category include those with active malignant tumors or blood cancer, as well as people who recently received stem cell transplants, have advanced HIV, or are on medication that suppresses the immune system.
This means that it was left to the CDC panel and individual clinicians to hammer out the concept of “immunocompromised.” Despite CDC’s new recommendations, it is unclear how some clinicians will determine whether to deliver a third round of immunizations. Camille Kotton, a member of the CDC Immunology and transplant committee, expects patients with impaired immune systems to start asking for more doses this weekend.
To help offer an additional Covid-19 vaccine dosage, without the requirement for a prescription or a doctor’s note, patients can simply ask their health care provider for the Covid-19 vaccine. Most pharmacists may request that patients provide proof of qualifying moderate or severe medical conditions, but they do not have to “self-attest,” according to the CDC’s Kathleen Dooling.
According to Amanda Cohn, a senior adviser for vaccines at the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, the CDC aims to provide guidance to healthcare providers about who those individuals are while allowing some flexibility for them to assess whether the patients’ immunosuppression is moderate or severe. They are not the goal of this campaign, which seeks to find a solution for residents of long-term care homes and persons with diabetes or heart disease.
To express the panel’s suggestion as an updated initial dosing regimen, members instead used the term “upgraded initial dosing regimen.” While panel members recommended that eligible people remain to the brand of vaccine they received initially, switching to a different brand is OK.