LEAVENWORTH, Kan. – Right now, only the immunocompromised are eligible for a COVID booster shot, but that could soon change – and sooner than federal regulators initially expected.
The Leavenworth County Health Department held a clinic Thursday offering a third shot of the COVID-19 vaccine. It’s only for people who are immunocompromised.
“I just received my third shot,” Leavenworth resident Walter Williams said. “I brought my wife over to get her third shot.”
Williams and his family have a weak immune system. His wife is going on six years with a new kidney.
“We were very aggressive on making sure we stayed vaccinated,” Williams said.
They each had two doses of the vaccine by March. This third shot brings them up to the same level of protection that others get with just two shots.
“I think it’s really great to differentiate third doses versus conventional boosters,” said nurse Brandi Dickerson, the vaccination site lead in Wyandotte County.
Third shots and booster shots are the same doses, but it’s the person who makes the difference, Dickerson explained.
Is your immune system weak? If so, you can get a third shot of the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine 28 days after the second.
Otherwise, you’ll have to wait to get a booster.
“Conventional boosters are really for people who have waning immunity over time,” Dickerson said. “It’s looking that’s anywhere from the 6-month to 12-month range.”
Nothing is official yet, but the Wall Street Journal reports the FDA is considering allowing adults to receive the booster only 6 months after their second shot, instead of 8 months. The CDC’s website says that 8-month rollout would start the week of Sept. 20.
“Very happy about that,” Williams said, “because I’ve known folks who were already vaccinated twice and they ended up becoming sick again with the COVID-19, and this is a respiratory disease that hits you and it causes problems.”
Dickerson said people with weak immune systems will likely need a booster following their third shot.
Williams plans to follow the guidelines, noting the high risks if not.
“Folks die,” Williams said. “That’s the bottom line.”