DECATUR, Ala. – As the third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine was recommended for those who are immunocompromised, Judy Smith with the Alabama Department of Public Health asked people to save those doses for those who need it.
However, during the weekly City of Decatur COVID-19 briefing, Decatur-Morgan Hospital president Kelli Powers said that they are offering the third dose to anyone who received the vaccine series eight months ago. She said they started offering them last week.
“I think I get mine next week,” said Powers. “It’ll be my eight month next week because we started early with our doses back in December, so we want to keep our staff safe and make sure if it’s been eight months, they get it.”
This comes after the Huntsville Hospital System announced on Monday that a third dose of the vaccine was available for only those with a weak immune system.
The Federal Drug Administration agreed, “We are prepared to offer booster shots for all Americans beginning the week of September 20 and starting 8 months after an individual’s second dose. At that time, the individuals who were fully vaccinated earliest in the vaccination rollout, including many health care providers, nursing home residents, and other seniors, will likely be eligible for a booster.”
Because of the confusion between what’s recommended and what’s being offered, News 19 reached out to Dr. Karen Landers with ADPH.
While the current guidance of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) and CDC is for an additional dose of COVID 19 vaccine in those who have qualifying conditions, some entities may have chosen to proceed with third doses for those vaccinated shortly after COVID 19 vaccines became available. With Pfizer gaining full approval from the FDA, some entities may choose to allow “off label” use of this fully approved product.
The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH), in its health department vaccine clinics, continues to follow the guidance of ACIP and CDC for additional doses in the immunocompromised and await further information regarding administration of boosters.Dr. Karen Landers
Powers says though she agrees that immunocompromised individuals should get a booster first, anyone wanting a third dose will be able to get one at Decatur-Morgan’s Parkway campus, as long as it’s been eight months since their second dose.