What: The most recent recommendations from the CDC advise that immunocompromised patients receive an additional dose of the COVID-19 MRNA vaccines made by Moderna and Pfizer. The White House also announced they were recommending people start to receive a booster shot of the MRNA vaccines eight months after their second dose.
Why: Early data are showing that the two-dose COVID-19 vaccine regimen for immunocompromised patients may not be enough to in some immunocompromised individuals help their immune system fight off the COVID-19 virus. The CDC recommended the third shot to help those whose immune systems may not have responded.
Who: Kristen Nichols, PharmD, BCPS, BCPPS, BCIDP, Senior Content Management Consultant, Pediatric Infectious Diseases, Wolters Kluwer, is a pharmacist who has been on the front lines of administering COVID-19 vaccines and is also an adjunct professor at Butler University. One detail she believes is missing from the conversation around the CDC and White House recommendations is the difference between a booster and a vaccine.
“The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) has been particular about the terminology. What was authorized for immunocompromised patients is an additional dose, not a booster. An additional dose is for people who may not have responded adequately to the initial two-dose regimen, specifically those who are moderate to severely immunocompromised. A third dose doesn’t necessarily guarantee that they’ll respond, but several patients who received a solid organ transplant and didn’t respond to the initial 2 doses did respond to a third.”
“Boosters are doses that are given to people who likely had an adequate initial response but whose immunity may have waned over time. This would be your typical healthy person who got vaccinated originally but now needs to ‘re-invigorate’ that protection.”
How: Contact Ashley Beine at [email protected] to schedule an interview with Kristen Nichols. Journalists may also publish the quote above with proper attribution.