Third COVID-19 vaccine dose
I received it!
Last Sunday, I received the third dose of my COVID-19 vaccine, which U.S. health officials have authorized for people with compromised immune systems.
They have authorized a third dose of COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna to this group based on evidence that the standard two shots offered less robust protection in such populations.
The Food and Drug Administration updated the emergency use authorization given to the shots from Pfizer, developed with German partner BioNTech, as well as the vaccine from Moderna to allow a third dose for people who have received organ transplants or those with a similarly weakened immune system. Health officials have estimated that less than 3% of American adults would be candidates for a third dose.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said a third dose is recommended for moderately or severely immunocompromised people. They included people who are receiving treatment for solid tumor cancers and cancers of the blood, such as lymphoma or leukemia; patients who have undergone within the last two years a bone marrow transplant or are still taking drugs to suppress their immune system; and patients with advanced or untreated HIV infection.
The CDC guidance also includes people currently taking high-dose steroids and immune system-suppressing biologic drugs, including medicines for Crohn’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, plaque psoriasis, and Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, which is my case.
Last Friday, the CDC said that people seeking a third vaccine dose would not need a prescription or recommendation from a healthcare provider. They would self-attest that they are eligible at a vaccination site.
In my case, as my doctor recommended, I went to a vaccination post at Wallgreens without an appointment. I took the extra dose and didn’t feel any side-effect. I’m feeling much more peaceful now.
The vaccines themselves have been purchased by the federal government and distributed free of charge, but hospitals, pharmacies, and other providers can bill insurers for administration costs. People covered by Medicare, the government health plan for people over 65 who qualify for an additional vaccine dose, can receive it at no charge. Medicare will continue to pay vaccine providers an average of $40 for each administration of a COVID-19 vaccine.
The trade group representing most private health insurers, America’s Health Insurance Plans, said health insurance providers would continue to cover all administrative costs for COVID-19 vaccines as required.