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Certain immunocompromised people will be able to get a fourth dose of the COVID-19 vaccine beginning later this week.
The New York Times reported that the new recommendations come from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which were updated last week.
"The C.D.C. endorsed a third dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines for moderately or severely immunocompromised people on Aug. 13, but said this would be considered a part of the primary immunization, not a booster shot,"
the outlet reported. "In October, the agency said those immunocompromised people could receive a booster shot - a fourth dose of vaccine, six months after their third dose. These guidelines were consistent with its recommendation for other adults."
The CDC last week shortened the suggested time between the third and fourth boosters to five months for those who received the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna shots. Immunocompromised people who received the single-dose vaccine from Johnson & Johnson do not have to get additional primary doses, but the CDC does advise a booster shot of the Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines after receiving that first dose.
The Times reported that "some immunocompromised people sought out fourth or even fifth shots of the vaccines even before the C.D.C. changed its guidelines."
The outlet noted that "some experts"
said taking multiple doses of the vaccines in a short period of time isn't harmful, but it might diminish the effect of the vaccines.
More from the Times:
The C.D.C. has said that any American 12 and older can receive a Pfizer-BioNTech booster - those 18 and older can alternatively receive a Moderna booster - five months after completing their initial shots with those vaccines. Israel has already begun offering fourth doses to high-risk groups including older adults. But the Biden administration has not yet said whether it plans to follow suit.
The news comes just after CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky admitted that more than 75% of people who have died from COVID-19 had "at least four comorbidities."
"So, really, these are people who were unwell to begin with,"
Walensky made the claim on ABC's "Good Morning America"
where she was also asked new CDC guidelines suggesting COVID-positive people isolate for only five days before re-entering society while wearing a mask. Walensky replied:
Isolation, we talk about isolation in the context of people who've had a positive test, who know that they are infected. And we now have dozens of studies referenced on the CDC website that have demonstrated that you are most infectious in the one to two days before your symptoms and the two to three days after your symptoms. So by five days after your symptoms, the vast majority of your contagiousness is really behind you.
"And what we say at day five, then, is: Are your symptoms gone? Are you feeling better? Is your cough gone? Sore throat gone?"
she continued. "And if so, then it is safe to go out if you are wearing a mask all the time. And that means not going out to restaurants; not going out to gyms, not going out in visiting grandma, but really conscientiously wearing your mask for those last five days."
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