NYC will start offering third doses of Pfizer/Moderna vaccines

Posted On Mon, August 16, 2021 By

Posted On Mon, August 16, 2021 By In Policy

Photo credit: Don Pollard/Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo on Flickr

Today, NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Commissioner Dr. Dave A. Chokshi announced that all city-run vaccine sites, as well as hospitals, pharmacies, and doctor’s offices, will start offering third doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to New Yorkers 12 years of age or older who are moderately to severely immunocompromised. The news comes after the FDA amended the emergency use authorization for the two vaccines last week. Those who qualify include those under active treatment for cancer, those who’ve received an organ or stem cell transplant, and those with advanced or untreated HIV.

According to the city, those with “medical conditions such as diabetes or heart or lung disease” do not qualify for a third shot. Their list of conditions and treatments, which they note is not a complete list, includes:

  • Active treatment for cancer
  • Received an organ transplant and are taking immunosuppressive therapy
  • Received a stem cell transplant within the past two years
  • Moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency
  • Advanced or untreated HIV
  • Active treatment with a high dose of corticosteroids or other drugs that moderately or severely
    weaken your immune system

At a White House Covid-19 Response Team briefing on Thursday, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said that the agency estimates only three percent of adults require a third vaccine dose as of now. “Emerging data show that certain people who are immune-compromised, such as people who have had an organ transplant and some cancer patients, may not have had an adequate immune response to just two doses of the Covid vaccine,” she said.

According to an analysis of CDC data conducted by CNBC, “Such people represent only about 2.7% of the U.S. adult population but make up about 44% of hospitalized Covid breakthrough cases.” Likewise, they report that according to four small CDC studies, “16% to 80% of people with weakened immune systems didn’t have detectable antibodies to fight Covid after two shots,” but after a third shot, “33% to 50% [of those with no detectable antibodies] developed an antibody response…”

It’s recommended that a person’s third dose be of the same make as their first two (Pfizer or Moderna), but if that’s not possible, one can get the other brand. The one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine has not yet been authorized by the FDA for an additional dose. A third dose can be given at any point at least 28 days after one’s second dose.

Third doses are being administered at all existing vaccine sites in the city. One does not need to receive their third dose at the same location as their first two doses. You can find a vaccine site here and find more information about third doses here. You will not need to show any documentation but will need to “attest that you have a qualifying medical condition.”

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