Doctors redefine what it means to be fully vaccinated as COVID-19 cases surge

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — First it was two doses of Pfizer or Moderna and a single jab to the arm with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. But all that changed with the arrival of the delta variant. 

Now, boosters are in full swing, bringing the tally up to three shots. But it doesn’t stop there. For some, full vaccination will require four doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. News 8 turned to Dr. Christopher Doehring, vice president of medical affairs at Franciscan Health, to explain. 

“The first booster recommendation was actually a third dose for people who are immunocompromised,” he said. “Those folks were recommended for a third shot that sounded like a booster, but it was really a third shot for the primary series. And now they are being recommended for a true fourth shot booster six months after they receive their third shot. So, that’s who this applies to and that’s the rationale behind it.”

Those who are Immunocompromised include cancer patients, transplant recipients and people with autoimmune diseases who may be on medications that suppress their immune system. 

In terms of mixing and matching, Doehring goes on to say the same conclusion applies to the fourth shot as it does with the third. If a person qualifies for a fourth shot, it doesn’t matter which vaccine it is. In fact, studies show there are benefits to getting boosted with a different vaccine than the one a person originally received.