Third COVID vaccine approved for most vulnerable

Bay Area

SANTA CLARA COUNTY, Calif. (KRON) — Right now, some of the most vulnerable can receive a third dose of the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine if they’ve already completed a vaccine series.

The FDA and the CDC approved a third dose for people considered moderately or serval immunocompromised.

KRON4’s Amanda Hari spoke with health officials in Santa Clara County who say they’ve already given out third doses.

It is a small group of the population, estimated to be less than 3%, but as soon as it was approved by the CDC — members of this group started getting their third dose.

“By 6 o’clock last night one of our county operated vaccination sites was giving our first patient their third dose of vaccine,” Dr. Jennifer Tong said.

Associate Chief Medical Officer of the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, Dr. Tong, says the person qualified because they are on medication that suppress the immune system.

Some examples of people that would qualify are organ transplant recipients and people in cancer treatment.

“What we know is those who are moderately to severely immunocompromised likely didn’t have as much of a response to those first doses of the vaccine,” Dr. Tong said.

The third dose is only for those who received the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine.

This group is at a higher risk of all illnesses and infections, but especially something as contagious as COVID-19 and the delta variant.

“What we’re trying to do is we’re trying to catch this vulnerable population up to the vaccine response that the rest of us probably had.”

Dr. Tong says right now the majority of people hospitalized with covid-19 are unvaccinated, but they are seeing some immunocompromised people who are vaccinated experiencing severe breakthrough cases as well.

“We have had a handful of cases of vaccinated individuals, typically people who fall into this category of being the most vulnerable,” Dr. Tong said.

Right now there is no need for people with healthy immune systems to get a third dose.

But Tong says if you haven’t received a vaccination yet — they still have first doses.

“At our county operated drop in locations you’re welcome just to come in and ask questions,” Dr. Tong said. “We are willing to give accurate, scientific, information and provide the vaccine right then and there.”

The doctor told me at this point the third dose is not available for those at an advanced age or people with chronic illness — but she hopes that will be available in the future.

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