Health Dept: Immunocrompromised Ohioans eligible for additional COVID-19 shot

By: - August 17, 2021 12:50 am

COVID-19 computer generated image. Getty Images.

The new head of the Ohio Department of Health said there are a few Ohioans who could be eligible for a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Based on action by the FDA and the CDC, an additional dose of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine is recommended for severely immunocompromised individuals.

“These individuals have a reduced ability to fight infections and are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19, especially as the more contagious and more dangerous delta variant is driving the surge in cases,” said ODH director Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff.

Vanderhoff says the category eligible for the third dose equates to about 3% of both the US and the state population.

The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices hasn’t completely defined all of the conditions that would fall under the third-dose recommendation, but Vanderhoff said those who have undergone transplants, some cancer patients and people with advanced HIV are some of those that should consider getting the third dose.

Those that are immunocompromised “are recognized to be a much higher risk of severe outcomes from COVID-19,” Vanderhoff said.

The ACIP recommended the third dose be given at least 28 days following the second in the two-dose vaccination series, according to Vanderhoff.

The CDC is not recommending another dose for those who received the Johnson & Johnson, non-mRNA vaccine.

No prescription is needed for the third dose, and Vanderhoff said people can receive the vaccine “through the channels they’ve been accustomed to receive those vaccines,” such as pharmacies or health departments. The ODH director said anyone who thinks they might be eligible should consult a medical professional about the need and timing of the additional vaccine.

Vanderhoff continued his push for all Ohioans to get vaccinated, to avoid the rate of infection outpacing vaccination. The rapid spread of the delta variant is rare among vaccinated adults, he said.

“If more of us were fully vaccinated, this delta variant wouldn’t have the opportunity to be spreading like wildfire in our population,” Vanderhoff said.

On Friday, the ODH reported 2,732 reported cases in the last 24 hours and 106 hospitalizations. Cases over the last 21 days peaked at 3,393 cases, which was the largest increase since February.

The state currently has a 50.47% COVID-19 vaccination rate, according to state data Friday.

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Susan Tebben
Susan Tebben

Susan Tebben is an award-winning journalist with a decade of experience covering Ohio news, including courts and crime, Appalachian social issues, government, education, diversity and culture. She has worked for The Newark Advocate, The Glasgow Daily Times, The Athens Messenger, and WOUB Public Media. She has also had work featured on National Public Radio.

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