Millions of people with compromised immune systems can now receive a third COVID-19 vaccine, the CDC announced late last week.
Some North Texans are already registering for the extra vaccine, hoping to boost their protection against the virus.
David and Myriam Harwell of Grand Prairie showed up to their local CVS Pharmacy in Grand Prairie, ready to roll up their sleeves for the third time.
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Harwell tells NBC 5 his doctor informed him and his wife they are eligible for the COVID-19 booster shot.
He is over 65 and a diabetic.
According to the CDC, the injection is available to several million Americans with compromised immune systems.
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Experts say this population is especially vulnerable to complications if they contract the virus, even if they are fully vaccinated.
According to the CDC, those who are currently eligible are people 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 two 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
NBC 5 asked the CDC to clarify whether diabetes is among the health conditions that qualify for the booster shot right now. Representatives have not yet responded.
The booster dose is only for those who received the Pfizer or Moderna shots.
Those who received the single Johnson & Johnson vaccine are not yet eligible for a booster vaccine, according to the CDC.
“It is the third dose of what your already received,” explained Akash Patel, district leader for CVS Health. “It just provides additional immunity against the virus.”
Patel said documented proof will not be required online or in person.
Asked whether there’s enough protection in place to ensure those who qualify now for the booster get it instead of people who simply say they are ‘immunocompromised’ during the registration process, Patel said “on the CDC website, it provides strict guidelines as to who falls into that immunocompromised category.”
Patel says CVS has both COVID-19 booster vaccines and flu shots currently available, which can be given on the same visit.
Walgreens is also providing the booster shot for immunocompromised people.
After losing friends and family members to the virus, the Harwells are grateful to receive their third shot.
The CDC recommends the booster shot for moderately to severely immunocompromised people at least four weeks after your second dose.
So far, reactions after the third dose have been similar to the first two doses: fatigue and pain at the injection site, according to the CDC.