COVID VACCINE CLARITY: Understanding the difference between the booster and additional dose

Third booster shot dose explainer
Published: Aug. 20, 2021 at 4:15 PM EDT
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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - The Barren River District Health Department, along with the state health department are providing clarity on the difference between a booster and an additional dose of the COVID-19 vaccine as there’s been some confusion on the difference between the two.

“With respect to the booster doses and third doses, they’re not the same,” said Dr. Steven Stack, Commissioner of the Kentucky Department for Public Health.

The booster shot is a dose of the COVID vaccine for a sufficient immune system, but the vaccine’s efficacy has likely lessened over time. This shot is not available yet, but the Biden Administration is aiming for all individuals to have the option to get it by September 20.

“It will be for people who have had their second dose, eight months or more before, which means not everybody’s eligible,” Stack explained.

An additional dose is when someone’s immune response is potentially not strong enough to protect them after the first two initial doses.

“Right now, the only persons eligible for a third dose of an mRNA vaccine-- that’s Pfizer or Moderna-- are individuals with moderate to severe immunocompromised conditions,” explained Stack.

Currently, the Barren River District Health Department is providing that additional dose to immunocompromised individuals which includes those 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 2 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 your immune response

“If you are one of those persons, you can go to a pharmacy, you can go to a health department if they’re offering this, you can go to a clinic, you can get your third dose,” said Stack.

Meanwhile, the Kentucky Department of Health has deemed all Kentucky nursing home residents as immunocompromised and are therefore eligible for that additional dose now.

“By virtue of the medical conditions that put them there, that frailty they all generally have and the high mortality rate that was experienced for much of the COVID pandemic,” explained Stack. “Those individuals residing in a nursing home qualify as being at least moderately, or severely, immunocompromised and are therefore eligible under the current FDA emergency use authorization.”

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