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COVID-19

UT Health Austin Now Offering Third Pfizer Dose To Some Immunocompromised People

A person with a glove on inserts a needle into someone's arm.
Michael Minasi
/
KUT
A health care worker administers a COVID-19 vaccine during a pop-up vaccine clinic at Cristo Rey Church in East Austin last month.

UT Health Austin is now offering third doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to certain people with weakened immune systems.

Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended people who are moderately or severely immunocompromised receive a third dose of the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines (those from Moderna and Pfizer).

Immunocompromised individuals are particularly vulnerable to the coronavirus because they are more at risk of developing serious illness. Those eligible for the third dose, according to the CDC, 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 the immune response

UT Health clarifies this isn’t necessarily a “booster” shot.

“Though many news and other sources call this 3rd dose of vaccine a ‘booster,’ it actually helps people with certain medical conditions achieve a level of protection that the standard two-dose vaccination provides for non-immunocompromised individuals,” UT Health says.

UT Health is offering these third doses by appointment only. The health care provider says it is only offering the Pfizer vaccine, and the CDC doesn’t recommend people mix vaccine sources. So, if you got Pfizer before, you should get Pfizer again. The third dose is supposed to be administered 28 days or more after the second dose.

Several other vaccine providers, like Austin Public Health, Austin Regional Clinic, Walgreens and CVS, are also offering third doses to immunocompromised individuals.

The CDC doesn’t recommend third doses for people who aren't immunocompromised at this time. But U.S. health officials announced Wednesday that booster shots of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines would become available for all adults starting in September. People 18 and older will be eligible for the booster shot eight months after they got their second dose of these vaccines. People who got the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will also likely need another shot, but research is still being done on that.

People can book a COVID-19 vaccine appointment from UT Health Austin here. Find more vaccine providers at vaccines.gov.

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