Immunocompromised line up in Raleigh for 3rd vaccine dose first day it’s offered


RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Monday was the first day Wake County began to offered third doses of the Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines. Those doses were reserved for people who have compromised immune systems.

The CDC and FDA gave the green light for an extra dose late last week.

This extra shot is for very specific groups of people with weakened immune systems. The CDC describes those groups as 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

Wake County told CBS 17 it wants to make third doses as easy as possible to access. At this point, any place offering a COVID-19 vaccine could give people a third dose, even if it’s not the place they went to get their initial two doses.

While some people are still not convinced about the vaccines, some with weakened immune systems were ready for dose three. They got in line as soon as they could.

“I’m immunocompromised, so I’m excited to be here today to get my booster. I want to stay as healthy as I can,” said Rose Marlow, who got her third shot in Wake County Monday morning.

Another third shot recipient, Susan, said: “I just think it’s really important that I get my third booster shot, especially with the delta variant. I think everybody should be vaccinated and it’s a shame that some people aren’t willing to.”

The immunocompromised makeup about 3 percent of the population. Wake County estimates about 35,000 residents are eligible.

“If it’s available, then why wouldn’t you get it?” Farrol Ciebien asked.

Ciebien, however, is from Canada. She was in town visiting family and decided to get her third dose while she could.

“The booster shots are not available in our country yet, and our daughter highly recommended that since it’s available to everyone, everyone to a certain degree, we should do it while we’re here,” she said.

Dr. Jason Wittes, pharmacy director for Wake County, said place of residence will not disqualify you from getting a shot anywhere. People won’t need to show proof of their condition either. It’s an honor system.

“We’re not going to turn you away for any reason. So, just come on in, and as long as you do qualify as one of those severely immunocompromised patients, you can receive your third additional shot,” Wittes said.

He does not expect to be overrun by third-dose patients because there are so many places offering vaccines. Wittes said the county has enough supply and staffing even if there is a rush.

“It’s not like how it was in the beginning of the pandemic where we were only getting 1,000 doses a week and trying to spread it out. We have thousands of doses on hand,” Wittes said.

Even with added protection, most people told CBS 17 they won’t change their habits.

“I don’t foresee anything changing. I’m just going to continue to do what I’m doing in terms of staying safe,” Marlow said.

But, they do feel safer for themselves and their families.

“I just appreciate being able to get this booster shot and ill sleep soundly tonight,” Ciebien said.

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