‘Newly OK’d COVID-19 shot is first booster for immunocompromised’


The Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. clarified yesterday that the next round of COVID-19 shots that the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention recently approved is considered the first booster shot for immunocompromised individuals.

According to CHCC spokesperson Guillermo Lifoifoi, immunocompromised individuals are required to get the first three doses, if they opted for the mRNA vaccines like Moderna and Pfizer, to be deemed fully vaccinated, compared to relatively healthy individuals who only need the first two shots to be considered fully vaccinated.

“A Moderna booster is half dosage, meaning, for immunocompromised, their primary series of three shots is full dosage. The timing of the booster is different from the primary series as well. The third shot for immunocompromised is at least 28 days after the second shot while the booster is given three months after the third shot,” Lifoifoi explained.

Due to this clarification from the CDC, CHCC says the recently approved round of shots, or what CHCC is calling the fourth shot, is now considered the first booster for those who are immunocompromised.

This clarification was made to not confuse members of the public that there is a second round of boosters available as those have yet to be approved by the CDC.

According to Dr. Lily Muldoon, CHCC Public Health medical director, it is definitely a possibility that a second round of boosters will be made available to the public as the COVID-19 virus continues to evolve.

“I see it as a definite possibility. We follow what the CDC guidelines instruct us. I think, similar to the way that boosters were rolled out, that they first saved it for the highest risk individuals, and then quickly over time, other people were eligible. I believe that similar with this fourth shot, more people will be eligible over the next coming weeks or months,” she said.

Muldoon said the immunocompromised includes people who are on cancer treatment, are organ transplant recipients, and those who are on HIV or immunosuppressive drugs like high-dose corticosteroids.

“Those are the people that are considered to be moderately or severely immunocompromised and should work with their healthcare provider to get their fourth dose,” she said.

According to guidance from CHCC, people ages 12 years and older who are moderately or severely immunocompromised and received a mRNA vaccine for their primary series (Pfizer or Moderna) should receive a total of four doses of COVID-19 vaccine.

The four doses are made up of a primary series of three doses of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, plus one booster of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine for the fourth dose. The mRNA booster will be given at least three months after the third dose of a mRNA vaccine.

People ages 18 years and older who are moderately or severely immunocompromised and received the first dose of Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen COVID-19 vaccine should get a second dose of either Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines

They should also receive a booster, also an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, in most situations given at least two months after the second dose for a total of three doses.

Kimberly Bautista Esmores | Reporter
Kimberly Bautista Esmores has covered a wide range of news beats, including the community, housing, crime, and more. She now covers sports for the Saipan Tribune. Contact her at kimberly_bautista@saipantribune.com.
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