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UVA doctor explains who should get vaccine booster right now

Published: Aug. 17, 2021 at 4:18 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Some immunocompromised people can now get a third COVID-19 vaccination shot, but it can be confusing to figure out if you fall into this category or how soon you can make an appointment.

The Blue Ridge Health District says this third dose applies to people who are recipients of organ or stem cell transplants, people with advanced or untreated HIV infection, and active recipients of treatment for cancer, or people who are taking certain medications that weaken the immune system.

“CVS, for example, is giving booster doses today and so you should go ahead and contact CVS, contact the health department, contact UVA, and go ahead and get your third dose. There’s no need to wait any period of time after you’ve received doses one and two,” said Dr. Bill Petri with University of Virginia Health.

BRHD Director Dr. Denise Bonds had stated during a press conference Monday, August 16, that getting a third dose should be timed out properly: “This third dose of vaccine should be 28 days from their second dose of either Pfizer or Moderna,” she said.

If you received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, Petri says there’s no harm in mixing and matching.

“I would say that if you’re immunocompromised and you receive Johnson & Johnson, you should go ahead and get a booster with one of the mRNA vaccines - the Pfizer or the Moderna - and not wait for that study to come back,” Petri said.

Many people are anticipating the federal government to advise most Americans to get a booster shot eight months after they’re fully vaccinated.

“I just expect to hear probably later this week the official announcement from the federal government, and that your booster shots be eight months after you’ve finished the first two doses,” Petri said. “It’s based on data from Israel, where they’ve actually seen breakthrough cases eight months out.”

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