Health care providers in Washington can now give a third dose of the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to certain people who are immunocompromised, according to the state Department of Health.
The decision to allow this third shot comes after the FDA recommended the third shot for immunocompromised people.
Although the vaccines show high rates of protection against the variants, studies now suggest that people who have moderate to severely compromised immune systems don’t always have the same level of immunity compared to those without compromised immune systems, according to the DOH.
The third shot should be taken at least 28 days after the second shot, according to the DOH.
People who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine should not get another shot at this time, according to the DOH. People who don’t have compromised immune systems do not need a third shot.
The third shot for people with compromised immune systems should not be seen as a booster, but rather as an additional dose for people who never developed the full immunity from the first two shots.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website has a full list of conditions that qualify people for the third shot.
COVID-19 cases across the country and in Washington have surged in recent weeks. Over the last 30 days, both King and Pierce counties have seen COVID-19 cases rise between 300 and 599%, according to the DOH. Much of this increase is attributed to the new highly contagious Delta variant.
Even after immunocompromised people get their third shot, the DOH still recommends wearing a mask and socially distancing to protect themselves from the virus.