WDH clarifies who should consider third vaccine dose

WYOMING — According to the Wyoming Department of Health (WDH), a third vaccine dose is now recommended for a limited group of residents who have certain medical conditions.

Dr. Alexia Harrist, state health officer and state epidemiologist with WDH, said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends people with moderately to severely compromised immune systems should receive an additional dose of Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines.

“National experts are seeing that people who are moderately to severely immunocompromised are especially vulnerable to COVID-19 because they are more at risk of serious, prolonged illness,” Harrist said. “An additional dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines can help these people make sure they have enough protection against COVID-19.”

The state health officer said those who should consider an additional vaccine dose at this time include 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 or severe primary immunodeficiency (such as DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome)
  • Advanced or untreated HIV infection
  • Active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids or other drugs that may suppress immune response

Added doses have NOT yet been authorized or recommended and are not available at this time for people without compromised immune systems or who may have received the one-dose Johnson and Johnson vaccine.

The additional dose for people with compromised immune systems should be administered at least 28 days after the original vaccination series is completed. Residents with questions on whether they should consider the additional dose are encouraged to discuss the recommendation with their regular medical professional.

More important details about the current third-dose recommendation from the CDC can be found here.

“The authorized vaccines each continue to offer solid protection from infection for Wyoming residents, including against the Delta variant,” Harrist said.

An updated WDH review of more than 7,000 lab-confirmed and probable cases identified among Wyoming residents age 18 and older between May 1 and Aug. 10 shows just over 95 percent of the individuals did not report being fully vaccinated against COVID-19. During the same period, of the nearly 350 persons infected by COVID-19 who were hospitalized at the time they were interviewed by public health representatives, just under 95 percent did not report being fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Harrist continues to encourage residents to seek out free, safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines, which remain readily available across Wyoming. “As always, we will continue sharing information about future vaccine-related recommendations,” she said.

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