Ohio’s top doctor fields questions on third doses of COVID-19 vaccine


COLUMBUS, Ohio (WJW)– Ohio Department of Health Chief Medical Officer Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff held a news conference on additional doses of COVID-19 shots.

The Food and Drug Administration approved a third shot of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine for transplant recipients and other immune-compromised people. Vanderhoff mentioned patients with some cancers and those with advanced HIV. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices is still working on its complete list of eligible people.

About 7 million adults in the country are considered immunocompromised. Vanderhoff said it’s a recommendation for a very small group of people: less than 3 percent of Ohioans. These individuals should consult with their physicians.

“Immunocompromised people are recognized to be at a much higher risk of severe outcomes from COVID-19. And, more recent data now indicates that might not develop sufficient immune response from the primary two-dose mRNA vaccine,” Vanderhoff said.

The third dose would be administered at least 28 days after receiving their second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna shot, Vanderhoff said. At this time, a second dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is not recommended.

Vanderhoff said it is not a booster shot, it’s an adjustment to the primary series. He recommended against seeking a third shot for those who are not immunocompromised, saying it’s not necessary and there’s no current benefit.

On Friday, the Centers for Disease Control said about 1.1 million people have already received a third dose on their own. Vanderhoff said the state’s data does not suggest large amounts of people in Ohio attempting to get an additional dose.

Ohio’s top doctor also took the opportunity to stress the importance of getting vaccinated, especially now that we’re seeing spikes in cases of the more contagious and more severe delta variant. He said it is more contagious than the cold or flu.

“We still need to get more Ohioans vaccinated if we want to avoid continuing to confront these surges,” Vanderhoff said. “It’s spreading very fast. But you know who it’s spreading among? The unvaccinated. We are not seeing rapid spread of this virus, in fact, this virus appears to spread very rarely among people who are vaccinated.”

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