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Virginia to begin offering third COVID-19 vaccine dose for people with compromised immune systems

The VDH said a third dose of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines will be available to Virginians who have weakened immune systems.

NORFOLK, Va. — Following the announcement that the FDA is authorizing COVID-19 vaccine booster shots for immunocompromised people, the Virginia Department of Health said it would begin offering such doses as early as August 14.

The VDH said third doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines will be available for "moderately and severely immunocompromised Virginians." 

People who are moderate to severely immunocompromised make up about 3% of the adult population, the VDH said. Such people are vulnerable to COVID-19 because they are more at risk of serious, prolonged illness.

According to the CDC, immunocompromised people include:

  • 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

Most Virginians are not eligible for a third shot at this time, and authorization is only for mRNA vaccines. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is not eligible.

The VDH recommends people first talk with their healthcare provider about their medical condition, and whether getting an additional dose is appropriate for them.

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