CENTRE COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) — Current vaccination protection against severe COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths could diminish in the months ahead, according to a statement from the United States Department of Health and Human Services. To increase protection, a third dose of Pfizer or Moderna has been approved by the CDC for immunocompromised individuals.

The CDC says, those immunocompromised individuals include those 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 2 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 your immune response

“The third dose should be administered 28 days or more after your second dose,” said Kristi Mattzela, clinical services director for Centre Volunteers in Medicine. “The third dose would be for individuals who are immunocompromised who may not have formed an appropriate immune response to the first two doses.” 

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has determined booster shots will be needed to maximize protection.

“The booster would be administered to individuals who would have developed an appropriate immune response to the first and second dose,” said Mattzela.

If approved, the HHS said they’re prepared to begin giving booster shots to all Americans, beginning September 20. Booster shots should be administered at least eight months after your second dose of Pfizer of Moderna.

“We are planning for larger clinics should the boosters be approved,” said Mattzela.

HHS said the first groups to likely be eligible for a booster shot are health care providers, long term care residents, and senior citizens.