San Francisco now offering third booster shots to immunocompromised

Bay Area

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – DECEMBER 18: COVID-19 vaccine is stored at -80 degrees celsius in the pharmacy at Roseland Community Hospital on December 18, 2020 in Chicago, Illinois. The hospital began distributing the COVID-19 vaccine to its workers yesterday. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) – The San Francisco Department of Public Health (SFDPH) began offering third doses of the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines for people with immunocompromised health conditions today.

People who meet the following conditions are eligible for the booster shot:

  • Receiving active cancer treatment for tumors or cancers of the blood 
  • Received an organ transplant and am taking medicine to suppress my immune system 
  • Received a stem cell transplant within the last 2 years or am taking medicine to suppress the immune system   
  • Moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (e.g., DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome) 
  • Advanced or untreated HIV infection 
  • Active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids or other drugs that suppress my immune response  

“Our strategy has always been to protect the most vulnerable in our community based on the latest available research and guidance from federal and state partners,” said Director of Health, Dr. Grant Colfax. “With a third dose of an mRNA vaccine our intent is to prevent severe illness among people who may not have had a complete immune response to the initial 2-dose series. We will continue to monitor guidance from the CDC for further eligibility expansion. For now, we ask that only individuals who meet the criteria for immune compromise request a third dose.” 

The SFDPH advises that people first consult with their doctor to see if getting an additional dose of the vaccine is appropriate.

People who are immunocompromised have a reduced ability to fight infections and are vulnerable to COVID-19. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has determined that the administration of a third dose may increase protection from the virus for individuals with these health conditions.

Because the vaccine is not 100% effective, persons with immune compromise, including those who receive an additional dose, should continue to take additional precautions to prevent COVID infection, including wearing a well-fitted facemask, maintaining social distancing, and avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated indoor spaces whenever possible. Their close contacts should be strongly encouraged to be vaccinated against COVID-19 

Based on CDC estimates that approximately 3% of the population meets the criteria, SFDPH expects number of individuals eligible for a third dose to be relatively small.

Immunocompromised individuals can make an appointment or find a nearby vaccination site at sf.gov/get-vaccinated.

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