MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Americans that are at high risk from COVID-19 due to weakened immune systems are able to get a third dose of the vaccine. On Tuesday, the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) issued a recommendation that people with weakened immune systems get the third dose.
ADPH says that health officials are not recommending a third dose for the general public at this time. Additionally, health officials have not addressed additional doses following the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
The department stresses that this third dose of the Moderna or Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is not a "booster" shot, but rather an additional dose for those whose initial response to the vaccine was insufficient.
According to ADPH, the people affected by the following medical conditions, or who are receiving treatment associated with immune compromise may benefit from the additional dose:
- Active or recent treatment for cancer - solid tumor and blood malignancies
- Receipt of solid organ or recent hematopoietic stem cell transplants
- Severe primary immunodeficiency
- Advanced or untreated HIV infection
- Active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids, alkylating agents, antimetabolites, tumor-necrosis blockers, and other biologic agents that may suppress immune response
- Persons with chronic medical conditions such as asplenia and chronic renal disease which may be associated with varying degrees of immune deficiency
Those seeking an additional dose of the COVID-19 vaccine are asked to consult their healthcare provider, who ADPH says can provide a prescription for a third mRNA dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. Alternatively, ADPH says people can present to a vaccination site and self-attest that they are within an eligible population.
ADPH's recommendation comes just days after a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention panel issued a similar recommendation. ADPH advises that the third dose should be the same brand as the initial two doses, Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna.
ADPH is continuing to recommend immunocompromised people, even those who have received a third dose of the vaccine, wear a mask, stay at least 6-feet apart from others and to avoid crowds and poorly ventilated indoor spaces.
For more information regarding COVID-19 vaccines, visit ADPH's website.