A third COVID vaccine shot has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration, but only for certain individuals.
The FDA authorized an additional vaccine dose for "immunocompromised individuals, specifically, solid organ transplant recipients or those who are diagnosed with conditions that are considered to have an equivalent level of immunocompromised."
The additional shot is meant to help those most at risk as the spread of the Delta variant continues and the cases and hospitalizations continue to rise.
“The country has entered yet another wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the FDA is especially cognizant that immunocompromised people are particularly at risk for severe disease. After a thorough review of the available data, the FDA determined that this small, vulnerable group may benefit from a third dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna Vaccines,” Acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock, M.D. said in a statement. “Today’s action allows doctors to boost immunity in certain immunocompromised individuals who need extra protection from COVID-19."
Some important details to know about the authorization of a third shot, per HuffPo:
Boosters are meant for specific patients: Experts estimate there are around 7 million people in America who are considered immunocompromised but not all immunocompromised people will need a third shot, and not all immunocompromised patients will even benefit from a third shot. Those who are immunocompromised should consult with their medical provider about whether they need a third shot or not.
Not all of the vaccines have been given the OK for an additional shot: The FDA has only approved a booster for the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines. If you are immunocompromised and received the single-dose Johnson & Johnson shot, you should consult with your doctor.
When a booster will be needed for the non-immunocompromised is not known yet: HuffPo's experts say the vaccines are doing their job at keeping hospitalizations and deaths for vaccinated people low, and those who get breakthrough infections usually do not have severe issues. The CDC has indicated boosters are not needed for the general public at this time and it is not known when they might be.
Booster shots will not deplete our vaccine supply: HuffPo notes that America currently has a surplus of vaccines and the immunocompromised only account for 3 percent of the population. Providing these boosters is not expected to impact future groups -- like those under the age of 12 -- when they are eligible for their shots.
Find out where to get your free COVID-19 vaccine, here or search vaccines.gov, text your ZIP code to 438829, or call 1-800-232-0233 to find locations near you in the U.S.