CHEROKEE COUNTY, Ga. — Several North Georgia health departments say people with weakened immune systems can now start receiving a booster shot of the COVID-19 vaccine.
The public health departments in Cherokee, Fannin, Gilmer, Murray, Pickens and Whitfield counties said they are providing a third dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. But the shots are only available for those who are immunocompromised.
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The Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention previously recommended a third vaccine dose for those who are moderately to severely immunocompromised. The booster shots are recommended at least 28 days after completion of the initial two doses.
The recommendation does not include those who received the Johnson and Johnson vaccine.
Eligible immunocompromising conditions for the third dose of COVID-19 vaccine include:
- Active treatment for solid tumor and hematologic malignancies
- Receipt of a solid-organ transplant and taking immunosuppressive therapy
- Receipt of CAR-T-cell or hematopoietic stem cell transplant (within 2 years of transplantation or taking immunosuppression therapy)
- Moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (such as DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome)
- Advanced or untreated HIV infection
- Active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids (≥20mg prednisone or equivalent per day), alkylating agents, antimetabolites, transplant-related immunosuppressive drugs, cancer chemotherapeutic agents classified as severely immunosuppressive, tumor-necrosis (TNF) blockers, and other biologic agents that are immunosuppressive or immunomodulatory
Eligible patients must request a third dose of the vaccine, and to receive it, they may either provide documentation from their physician or self-attest to one of the medical conditions above by signing a consent form.
The vaccine is free, and no appointment is needed to receive COVID-19 vaccine at the county health departments in the North Georgia Health District; however, an appointment may be arranged by calling ahead. Phone numbers and addresses for county health departments in North Georgia are available at www.nghd.org.
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