In what some are calling a “lifesaving” decision, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee Friday approved a third COVID-19 vaccination dose for those with weak immune systems or who’ve underwent an organ transplant.
Pam Morris-Walton of Bronzeville, a heart transplant patient, has been waiting months for this day to come.
This month marks five years since her lifesaving surgery.
“I’m one of God’s walking miracles,” said Walton. “I want to continue to walk.”
Bob Rosenthal of Hoffman Estates has been staying away from family and friends for more than year because the medication he takes makes him immunocompromised.
His body’s immune system didn’t produce antibodies for the first two vaccine doses. He’s hoping this third dose is the answer.
“We don’t know if it’s truly going to work or not,” said Rosenthal. “My hope is it will, but I’m going to follow the science.”
The additional dose authorization for these two groups includes Pfizer and Moderna, the two mRNA vaccines available in the U.S.
Those who qualify must get the same vaccine and dosage as the first two shots.
Dr. Sajal Tanna, an infectious diseases doctor at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, said some patients may not form the antibodies. Therefore, it’s important to continue to wear masks and social distance.
“It is not a substitute for basic health measures we’ve been following for the last year and half. We don’t know the level of antibody needed to protect and say you won’t get a breakthrough infection,” said Tanna. “We don’t have a magic number.”
The jury is still out on booster shots for the rest of vaccinated population in the U.S. Current studies show these vaccines remain effective for at least six months after full inoculation.
Those who qualify for the third dose can get their shot effective immediately.