The Alabama Department of Public Health is recommending individuals with weakened immune systems get a third COVID-19 shot to protect against serious illness.
The ADPH is not currently recommending booster vaccine doses for the general public and said a third dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine is for “people in whom the initial response to the vaccine series was insufficient.”
Health officials are still determining whether additional doses for the Johnson and Johnsons vaccine will be needed.
The ADPH said examples of who should get a third shot are:
- Those with active or recent treatment for cancer.
- Recipients of solid organ or recent hematopoietic stem cell transplants.
- Those with severe primary immunodeficiency.
- Those with advanced or untreated HIV infections.
- Those in treatment for high-dose corticosteroids, alkylating agents, antimetabolites, tumor-necrosis blockers and other biologic agents that may suppress immune response.
- Persons with chronic medical conditions such as asplenia and chronic renal disease that may be associated with varying degrees of immune deficiency.
The ADPH says anyone who wishes to get a third dose can get a prescription from their health care provider or go to any vaccination site in the state.
The additional dose should be administered at least 28 days after completing the primary COVID-19 vaccine series and should be the same product, ADPH said.
A panel that advises the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last week made the same recommendation that people with weakened immune systems should get third doses of the vaccine.
The ADPH press release said moderately to severely immunocompromised people make up about 40% to 44% of people hospitalized with COVID-19.
The majority of those being hospitalized with severe COVID-19 related illness in Alabama are unvaccinated and practically all deaths are among the unvaccinated.
As of Tuesday, 2,723 people were hospitalized in Alabama from COVID-19, and nearly all of Alabama’s intensive care units were filled as of Monday night.
There are currently 1.7 million Alabamians who are fully vaccinated and 2.3 million who have received at least one dose.
Alabama is still ranked last in the nation for its vaccination rate, at 35%, but vaccinations have been steadily increasing in the state the past few weeks, according to John Hopkins University.
The news of the recommended third dose by ADPH comes as national health officials are considering recommending a booster shot for all Americans eight months after they’ve completed their vaccine sequence, the Associated Press reported.