Some Oklahomans are now eligible for fourth dose of COVID-19 vaccine

·3 min read

Some immunocompromised Oklahomans may be eligible now for a COVID-19 booster dose, depending on when they had their last shot.

In August, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended that some immunocompromised people get a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at least 28 days after their second shot of either the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine.

For people in that group, a third dose is considered part of the primary vaccine series, said Dr. Gitanjali Pai, the chief medical officer with the Oklahoma Department of Health.

Now, immunocompromised Oklahomans who received a third dose at least five months ago, which was August, are eligible for a booster.

More: Who needs a COVID-19 booster dose? Here's where you can get one in Oklahoma City.

“We do encourage Oklahomans who are eligible to seek out their fourth dose,” Pai said.

The additional doses are recommended for moderately to severely immunocompromised people, which include people who:

  • Are receiving active cancer treatment for tumors or cancers of the blood

  • Have received an organ transplant and are taking medicine to suppress the immune system

  • Have received a stem cell transplant within the last two years or are taking medicine to suppress the immune system

  • Have a moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (such as DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome)

  • Have advanced or untreated HIV infection

  • Are receiving active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids or other drugs that may suppress the immune response

The state Health Department recommended that people talk to their doctor about whether a fourth dose is appropriate for them.

More: Free at-home COVID-19 tests are available after a White House website launch. Here's how to get them.

For everyone else, boosters are now recommended for anyone 12 and older. Here’s when a person will be due for a booster based on which vaccine they received:

  • Five months after receiving the second dose of a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine

  • Two months after receiving a Johnson & Johnson vaccine

Mixing-and-matching vaccine doses is allowed for the booster dose, though the Pfizer vaccine is the only one approved for people younger than 18.

Health officials now recommend the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine as a booster dose over the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

More: Booster shots 90% effective at preventing omicron hospitalizations, CDC data shows: COVID-19 updates

Booster doses are critical and offer additional protection against the omicron variant, health leaders have said. But so far, only about 35% of fully vaccinated Oklahomans have also received a booster dose.

“We want to remind Oklahomans to continue to do what we know helps to slow the spread of COVID-19 and other viruses: washing your hands, watching your distance, wearing a mask,” interim health commissioner Keith Reed said recently. “We also know that the best way to protect yourself and others is through vaccination, including the booster shots.”

To find a vaccination appointment near you, visit vaccines.gov or the state's vaccine scheduling portal at vaccinate.oklahoma.gov. More opportunities can be found at vaxokc.com.

This article originally appeared on Oklahoman: Fourth dose of COVID-19 vaccine available for immunocompromised Oklahomans

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