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Immunocompromised people now eligible for COVID-19 booster, CDC says

Feb 16, 2022, 3:58 PM | Updated: Jun 13, 2022, 4:35 pm

SALT LAKE CITY— Most immunocompromised individuals are now eligible for a COVID-19 booster, based on updated CDC guidance. An infectious diseases professor at the University of Utah who works with that population, says it’s time for them to get that extra protection.

Immunocompromised individuals became eligible for a third dose of vaccine last August, which is considered fully vaccinated for that population. The CDC said last week they are ready for a booster three months after their third dose of mRNA vaccine.

“So, that third dose is really to be considered their primary series,” said Dr. Hannah Imlay, assistant professor of infectious diseases at the University of Utah School of Medicine. “Just like everybody else, that means that immunocompromised patients are due for a booster. But, instead of that booster being their third dose, that booster is now their fourth dose.”

Imlay’s expertise is Working with immunocompromised patients, who represent as many as one in 10 people in our state she said.

So, there are tens of thousands of Utahns who have some deficit in their immune system. That could be due to an organ transplant, necessary medication like chemotherapy, or because they have an innate deficit, said Imlay.

They are at higher risk for hospitalization and death from COVID-19. They are also at higher risk for not responding to the vaccine.

“Because you need an immune system to respond to vaccine, any deficit in immune system can make the response less than what we want,” the doctor said.

Those who got their third dose in August can get that booster now. Imlay says it’s still unknown whether there will be a fifth or sixth dose for those individuals.

She’s also waiting to see whether the general population will be eligible for a second booster soon.

“I think that really relies on: what will we see in terms of developing variants? What will we see in terms of circulating community spread? And, I don’t know that answer, yet.”

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Immunocompromised people now eligible for COVID-19 booster, CDC says