Third dose of vaccine for those immunocompromised available in Bristol County next week

BRISTOL COUNTY, Mass. (WLNE) – Starting next week, the largest healthcare provider in Southeastern Massachusetts will begin administering third doses of COVID-19 vaccines to certain populations.

Southcoast Health will start offering third doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to those who are immunocompromised at three locations: 49 State Rd. in Dartmouth, Truesdale Health on President Ave. in Fall River, and Rosebrook Southcoast Physician Services on Rosebrook Way in Wareham.

“A vast majority of the hospitalized cases are in the immunocompromised patient population, and I think that’s what led to more of the data review and for the CDC to come to the recommendation that this is a population that could benefit from a third dose in the series,” said Tonya Johnson, Vice President of Operations for Southcoast Hospitals Group.

Johnson said there’s an important difference between a booster shot and a third dose.

“Immunocompromised need the third dose for a different reason than someone might need a booster shot,” she said. “Initially, we saw in the data that people who are immunocompromised, after their first and second dose in the series, didn’t have quite as robust an immune response as someone that wasn’t immunocompromised. Whereas booster doses are for someone that had a great response to the first and second doses as expected, but over time their immunity wean.”

Third doses of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines were given the green light last week by the United States Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for those with compromised immune systems.

Johnson said it’s important for those who are immunocompromised to sign up for their third dose.

“We’re seeing a very effective and robust immune response after the first and second dose, but over time that decreases. So in order to have the most effective response against the illness, that would be the recommendation for a third booster dose to increase that immunity back up.”

Booster shots for those not immunocompromised are expected to be recommended in mid-September.

“The only way we’re gonna have a better winter and a better world is for people to continue to get vaccinated,” said Johnson. “Vaccines are highly effective. The same science that developed them are the same science that are treated our patients in the hospitals and treating those that get the covid illness. They trust in the recovery process and the treatment process, I just ask that people trust also in the vaccination development process. Same science.”

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