The Yadkin County Health Department is currently administering third doses of COVID-19 vaccines to immunocompromised individuals whose medical providers have recommended they get the additional dose. As previously announced by the Centers for Disease Control, three doses is now the number needed for immunocompromised individuals to be considered fully vaccinated, said Jessica Wall, Yadkin County Health and Human Services Agency Director.
“I think it’s important to think about the difference between this language around ‘third dose’ and ‘booster dose,’” Wall said. “I know they seem like they can be used interchangeably — similar to ‘isolation’ and ‘quarantine.’ But ‘third dose’ is for a specific population.”
That immunocompromised population includes, according to the CDC, people who have:
-Been receiving active cancer treatment for tumors or cancers of the blood
-Received an organ transplant and are taking medicine to suppress the immune system
-Received a stem cell transplant within the last 2 years or are taking medicine to suppress the immune system
-Moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (such as DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome)
-Advanced or untreated HIV infection
-Active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids or other drugs that may suppress your immune response
Wall said that people should consult their medical provider to determine whether they are eligible for a third dose, and if so, they may contact the Yadkin County Health Department to receive the final dose by calling 336-849-7910. There are medical professionals on staff at the health department who can also discuss eligibility.
According to the CDC website, “studies indicate some immunocompromised people don’t always build the same level of immunity after vaccination the way non-immunocompromised people do, and may benefit from an additional dose to ensure adequate protection against COVID-19.”
Also new to the COVID-19 vocabulary is the “booster shot,” which is an additional vaccine shot for the general population that is anticipated at this time to be given 8 months after someone received his or her last shot. Wall emphasized that booster shots have not yet been formally approved at this time and the health department is awaiting further public health guidance. However, if approved, she anticipates the clinic being prepared to offer boosters around Sept. 20.
She said county officials are currently tracking how many inquiries they’ve received on boosters to gauge interest, since there are more places people can receive shots now versus back in January, as pharmacies and private practices have created potentially more convenient options for some people to receive vaccines.
“We’re very early in our planning, but at this time we are leaning toward likely holding booster clinics at the (former Hoots) hospital location like we did in the spring,” Wall said. “In our planning, we’re trying to determine how many folks are interested and how many people are interested in getting their booster from us.”
COVID-19 diagnoses are significantly on the rise in Yadkin County, mirroring statewide and nationwide trends. The county had 330 positive cases in the past 14 days, according to DHHS. Since the start of the pandemic, 58 Yadkin County residents have died due to the virus. The 57th death was recorded the week of July 29 and the 58th death was reported the week of Aug. 19. Prior to those two deaths, no one in the county had died of COVID-19 since the beginning of June.
Lisa Michals may be reached at 336-448-4968 or follow her on Twitter @lisamichals3.