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FDA permitting boosters as immunocompromised at 485 times risk of hospitalization, death

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Evidence shows COVID-19 antibodies wane in people with weakened immune systems and now the U.S. Food and Drug Administration will allow a third jab of the mRNA vaccines, Pfizer and Moderna, for this group.

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At the top of the list are organ transplant recipients followed by other equivalently vulnerable groups. News 8 spoke with Dr. Christopher Doehring, vice president of medical affairs at Franciscan Health. He says this authorization is a good move, one that will help the most at-risk avoid infection from the highly contagious and infectious variant of concern: delta.

“It’s not super surprising this group is being prioritized,” Doehring told News 8. “Certainly what we’ve learned is that people who are immunocompromised are not responding as robustly and their immunity isn’t lasting quite as long. So, it’s very appropriate and good news that the FDA is starting to get this information out there and put some more guidance out on these questions.”

THAILAND – 2021/08/09: Thai medical personnel receives a booster dose of COVID-19 Pfizer vaccine at the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration General Hospital in Bangkok. Thailand begin vaccinating booster doses with Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine to the medical personnel and frontline health workers who have already received two shots, in twelve hospitals in Bangkok under the Bangkok Medical Office. More than 1.5 million doses of the Pfizer mRNA vaccines have been donated by the United States to Thailand. (Photo by Vichan Poti/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)

“The country has entered yet another wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the FDA is especially cognizant that immunocompromised people are particularly at risk for severe disease,” Acting FDA Commissioner, Dr. Janet Woodcock said in a statement. “After a thorough review of the available data, the FDA determined that this small, vulnerable group may benefit from a third dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna Vaccines.”

The statement goes on to remind the public the Pfizer vaccine is authorized for emergency use in people 12 and older. The Moderna shot is authorized for people 18 and older.

They also say people who are fully vaccinated with the 2-dose series are fully protected and do not need a booster shot at this time.