RICHMOND, Va. -- People in Virginia who are immunocompromised were able to receive a third dose of the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines for the first time Saturday. However, those who received the single-dose Johnson & Johnson shot are not yet authorized to receive an additional dose.
"Now you’re waiting on the FDA to try and make some decision on where we stand with this," Robert Tapp said.
Tapp, who received the J&J shot and is immunocompromised, said he was told he "would not make it" if he contracted COVID.
As a result, he is hoping FDA regulators and CDC officials make a quick decision, which is something federal officials said they are working on.
“It doesn't take that long to come up with a decision to come on do we need to do another injection for the J and J," Tapp added.
Suzy Palmer, who has lupus, said she has been on medication for most of her life to suppress the disease that causes the body's immune system to attack its tissues and organs.
“I was watching this and listening for this with a lot of anticipation," Palmer said about the possibility of a third shot.
Palmer, who said she received two doses of the Pfizer vaccine, was told by her doctor to hold off on the third shot -- for now.
"She replied very quickly and said not quite yet," Palmer added.
That same caution is being taken by Amber Eck who had a heart transplant several years ago.
“My transplant team has actually given me the go ahead to get the dose," Eck said. "I do want to kind of look at the data myself and make the best-informed decision."
The CDC recommends the third dose of the vaccine is the same as the first two doses, but that is not mandatory.
Those who are eligible to receive another dose said it is a welcome step forward.
"The difference between that second does and that third dose can be quite significant," Palmer said. "So it still may not give me that protection that say you would of had, but it gets me closer to that.”
If you are wondering if you qualify for a third dose, click here to visit the CDC website for a list of qualifying conditions.
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Virginians age 12+ are eligible for COVID-19 vaccine. Pre-registration is no longer required, so go to Vaccine Finder to search for specific vaccines available near you or call 877-VAX-IN-VA (877-275-8343).
Have You Been Fully Vaccinated?
People are considered fully vaccinated:
- 2 weeks after their second dose in a 2-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or
- 2 weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine
How to Protect Yourself and Others When You’ve Been Fully Vaccinated
COVID-19 vaccines are effective at protecting you from getting sick. Based on what we know about COVID-19 vaccines, people who have been fully vaccinated can start to do some things that they had stopped doing because of the pandemic.
We’re still learning how vaccines will affect the spread of COVID-19. After you’ve been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, you should keep taking precautions—like wearing a mask, staying 6 feet apart from others, and avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces—in public places until we know more.
These recommendations can help you make decisions about daily activities after you are fully vaccinated. They are not intended for healthcare settings.