The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advisory panel recommended Friday an additional vaccine dose for people with compromised immune systems.
Health officials said it’s an important step to protect those who are vulnerable to the coronavirus.
Healthcare providers and pharmacies are getting ready to give out the third shot to those who meet the criteria. Some are still waiting for their doctor’s approval and others already got the third shot Friday night.
Hours after getting the approval by the CDC, Bob Rosenthal said he went to Walgreens and got the third shot of the vaccine.
“When we walked out it was where it hit both of us and we both started laughing that maybe we got something,” he said. “There’s a light at the end of the tunnel.”
Rosenthal is immunocompromised. The CDC estimates nearly 3% of adults in the U.S is in the same boat. That’s around 7 million people.
“The majority of people who get this are in my position, do develop antibody rapidly after this,” he said. “But there’s a small percentage who don’t so in two weeks I’ll get another antibody test and my hope is that will show that this worked for me too.”
The CDC panel voted unanimously Friday recommending the third shot of the Pfizer and Moderna COVID vaccine for moderately to severe immunocompromised individuals, including cancer patients and transplant recipients.
“A transplant patient won’t get the coverage that a regular person will because of our anti-rejection,” said double lung transplant recipient Rosie Woods. “But even if I got 50% I’d be thrilled. I’d feel a whole lot better than I feel now.”
The CDC recommends getting the third shot at least four weeks after being fully vaccinated saying the same vaccine should be used.
“Whatever it takes if I have to go over the finish line again I will go over the finish line again,” said Roger Nagleswki.
Nagleswski is also immunocompromised. He started the Chicago Vaccine Hunters Facebook group in February at the start of the vaccine roll out. The group has more than 83,000 members.
“I want to go back to that feeling that I had a month ago,” he said. “Where it’s like I’m double vaccinated, I got my mask with me at most times and I just want that feeling of protection so this is a relief.”
While Dr. Vishnu Chundi, who is the chair of the Chicago Medical Society COVID-19 Task Force believes this is a step in the right direction, he said people should not let their guard down.
“In reality this is good. It’s a modest benefit the data shows,” said Dr. Chundi. “Its not like suddenly you get a third shot and you’re safe, you still need to wear a mask. You still need to social distance.”
Dr. Chundi said its best to consult with your doctor first. The FDA and CDC’s approval and recommendation does not apply to immunocompromised individuals who got the Johnson and Johnson vaccine.