RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – The FDA and CDC have now recommended people who are immune compromised should get a third dose of the Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines.
A CDC panel decided Friday that third a dose would be part of the primary series of doses for people with especially weakened immune system, not a booster.
Rodney Cook hoped it meant his grandchildren aren’t worried about hugging him anymore
“The heart transplant saved my life and I’m happy about that,” he said.
It’s now been a decade since he had a heart transplant. Cook’s taken good care of himself.
“I made a deal with the doctors. I told them I’m going to do everything I can to live as long as I can,” Cook said.
Keeping that promise meant getting his first two COVID-19 shots. During the pandemic, it’s also meant being careful around his own grandchildren. They know they have to be careful around Papa.
“It bothers me if one of the little children come up and want to give me a hug and you kind of see them stop a little bit and think about it. I don’t want the children to have to worry about giving me a hug,” he said.
Cook’s transplant makes him extra vulnerable to COVID-19. Part of the reason is all the anti-rejection medication he’s taking.
“We’re using that medicine to try to cut down on our immune system and it’s making it more difficult for the vaccine to work,” Cook said.
It’s why the FDA and CDC voted in favor of an extra dose for some groups, including organ recipients. Data presented by the CDC showed 40 percent of transplant patients who didn’t build up protection after dose one did after dose two. Of those who did not build up protection after dose one, 68 percent built protection after the third.
“I’m going to do whatever is recommended by the people I trust,” Cook said.
He trusts the scientist and doctors who say he should get a third dose.
“It’s my intention to get one as soon as possible,” Cook said.
He’s hopeful it means more hugs from family, and maybe one day eating in a restaurant again.
“We’ve conquered too many things in the past: polio, smallpox, chickenpox, and this. I think we’ll get this behind us. I just hope it doesn’t take too long.”
It’s something he believed everyone can play a role in.
“My best hope is that everyone gets vaccinated and we get this under control that way,” Cook said.