Latest info on booster shots and how they can help the immunocompromised

Family Healthcast

FAMILY HEALTHCAST —  As the debate intensifies over whether coronavirus booster shots are needed, a federal advisory panel is expected next week to consider whether an extra vaccine can be given to patients with fragile immune systems.

The panel plans to focus on the 2 to 4 percent of U.S. adults who have suppressed immunity, a population that includes organ transplant recipients, people on cancer treatments and people living with rheumatologic conditions, HIV and leukemia.

A transplant doctor on the committee says there’s evidence to support an additional dose of vaccine, citing a study in the New England Journal of Medicine of 101 organ transplant patients in France.

That study showed the rate of antibodies against the coronavirus was 4 percent after the first dose of the Pfizer-vaccine, 40 percent after the second dose and 68 percent after the third dose. This indicates that the third dose dramatically increased the likelihood of developing a disease-fighting response.

Health officials are not calling an extra dose a booster, because immunocompromised patients tend not to have much of a response after the initial doses.

The prospect of booster shots for the general population emerged last week as the maker Pfizer announced it would seek regulatory approval for a third shot amid rising concern about the highly contagious delta variant.

NewsChannel 9 will keep you posted on the most recent information.

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