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MADISON – The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) announced Wednesday that it supports the recommendation that some immunocompromised people are recommended and eligible to get an additional dose of Pfizer (ages 12 and up) or Moderna (ages 18 and up) COVID-19 vaccine.

“Our nation’s leading medical experts have reviewed the available data and made this recommendation to improve protection against COVID-19 for some of our most vulnerable populations,” DHS Secretary-designee Karen Timberlake said in a news release. “Clinical experts reviewing data from the first months of administering COVID-19 vaccines have determined that certain medical conditions and treatments keep people from building the full immunity we would expect from the original two-dose mRNA vaccine series.”

However, the DHS notes, that fully vaccinated people who are not moderately or severely immunocompromised do not need an additional COVID-19 vaccine dose. As more information on additional, or booster, doses for the general public becomes available, the agency will update the public.

Following a rigorous review of all available data, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently authorized the additional dose for certain immunocompromised people. Last Friday (Aug 13) the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) voted unanimously to recommend an additional dose for individuals with specific medical conditions or who are receiving treatments that are associated with moderate to severe immune compromise.

This includes people who have:

  • Been receiving active cancer treatment for tumors or cancers of the blood.
  • Received an organ transplant and are taking medicine to suppress the immune system.
  • Received a stem cell transplant within the last two years or are taking medicine to suppress the immune system.
  • Moderate to severe primary immunodeficiency (such as DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome).
  • Advanced or untreated HIV infection.
  • Active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids, alkylating agents, antimetabolites, transplant-related immunosuppressive drugs, cancer chemotherapeutic agents classified as severely immunosuppressive, tumor-necrosis (TNF) blockers, or other drugs that may suppress your immune response.

“The science has shown that those with weakened immune systems often do not develop the same level of immune response after their initial COVID-19 vaccine series as those with uncompromised immune systems,” said Dr. Ryan Westergaard, Chief Medical Officer for the state’s Bureau of Communicable Diseases. “Fortunately, studies show that a third dose can help bolster the immune response in these individuals to achieve the same strong protection from the virus that those who are not immunocompromised were able to develop with just the two-dose series. If you are not included in this new group of individuals recommended for an additional dose, you should be reassured that the data shows good protection with the one or two-dose COVID-19 vaccine series at this time.”

If you think you may be eligible, or are interested in additional information about the recommendation for an additional dose of COVID-19 vaccine, visit the DHS COVID-19 Additional Dose webpage.

To find a COVID-19 vaccine provider in your community, visit Vaccines.gov, or call 211 or 877-947-2211.

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Paul Holley is retired from careers in journalism, public relations and marketing but not from life. These days, he pretty much writes about what he feels like writing. You may contact him directly at:...