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ASU will provide a third COVID-19 shot on case-by-case basis

Beginning Sept. 20, immunocompromised individuals will be eligible to receive a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to boost protection, per CDC recommendation

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A volunteer administers the COVID-19 vaccine at the Sun Devil Fitness Complex in Tempe on Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2021.

ASU Health Services have yet to provide additional vaccine doses to immunocompromised faculty and students but will work with people on a case-by-case basis, according to Aaron Krasnow, the associate vice president of health and counseling services.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now recommends "moderately to severely immunocompromised" individuals receive an additional shot of the COVID-19 vaccine after their initial two doses of an mRNA vaccine.

The third shot is given to help improve immunocompromised people's response to the initial vaccine series, as their "immune systems may not build the same level of immunity to 2-dose vaccine series compared to people who are not immunocompromised," the CDC's recommendations page for immunocompromised individuals says.

Booster shots have not been recommended by the CDC for any other population at this time, but the Biden administration and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced a plan to begin offering booster shots to all this fall. 

Beginning Sept. 20, booster shots of the mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccines, Pfizer and Moderna, will start being provided to the eligible public whose second dose was given eight months ago or earlier.

While the University doesn't yet have a plan in place for distributing third doses, ASU President Michael Crow said the school is working on making them available. "They're available as soon as you hit that date, you're going to be able to get your booster," Crow said in a meeting with The State Press Friday.

These shots will be given to people to help ensure the effectiveness of the vaccine over time. Joshua LaBaer, executive director of ASU's Biodesign Institute, said those who have been vaccinated for five months or longer are more likely to have a breakthrough case of COVID-19 than people who had their vaccine shots less than five months ago.

Referencing studies from Pfizer and Moderna, LaBaer said "it is clear, if you look at the data, that in people who are vaccinated, over time the level of antibodies that prevent infection ... we see that those are kind of drifting down."

The studies showed the booster shot was most effective when given eight to nine months after a person's second vaccine dose.

"It really brings those antibodies back up to, or even beyond, what they were at when they were first vaccinated," LaBaer said. 

For those immunocompromised individuals who are looking to receive an additional shot of the vaccine, Maricopa County recommends they speak with their health care provider to see if getting an additional shot is right for them. 

You can receive an additional third shot anywhere that offers the same vaccine as your first dose, according to Maricopa County's vaccine FAQ page.  

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Morgan FischerPolitics Editor

Morgan Fischer is the politics editor, she works with her desk to cover topics related to politics in the ASU community. She has previously worked as an intern for RightThisMinute. 

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