“We have begun to administer third doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, which are not to be confused with booster doses, of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccine,” announced Jenny Krapf, LPN, Glacier County Health Department Director. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a third dose of Moderna and Pfizer vaccine should be considered for persons who are moderately to severely immunocompromised. They will need to wait 28 days after having received their initial two-dose vaccine before receiving the third dose.

Sometimes those who are “moderately to severely immunocompromised do not build enough, or any, protection when they first get a vaccination. When this happens, getting another dose of the vaccine can sometimes help them build more protection against the disease,” states the CDC from their website.

“We recommend individuals discuss with their primary care provider whether the third dose is appropriate for them,” said Krapf. 

The third dose is not the same as the booster dose.

The CDC described a booster dose as “another dose of a vaccine that is given to someone who built enough protection after vaccination, but then that protection decreased over time (this is called waning immunity). The goal is to start receiving a COVID-19 booster shot beginning in the fall, with individuals being eligible starting eight months after they received their second dose of either Pfizer or Moderna.”

The booster dose has not yet been authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, nor has the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) given its recommendation. Once the Food and Drug Administration completes an independent evaluation to determine safety and effectiveness of the booster, the ACIP will conduct a thorough review of the evidence and make their recommendation based on that information.

The booster for the Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson and Johnson vaccines are not yet available, however, Krapf said the boosters for all three vaccines will most likely be available this fall.

When the booster becomes available, the goal will be to provide the shot to those that first received the original vaccines, including those that are at the most risk of contracting COVID-19. That list includes healthcare providers, residents of long-term care facilities and older adults. 

If you have not yet received the first doses of the vaccine, Krapf said there are many places still offering them, including the Glacier County Health Department. 

“We currently are offering Moderna, Pfizer and Janssen vaccines and are open for walk-ins every Thursday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. If an appointment is needed outside of those times, please call us at 406-873-2924 to make an appointment.”

The Pfizer vaccine is a two-shot dose and is recommended for people 12 years of age and older. The Moderna vaccine is also a two-shot dose and is recommended for people 18 years of age and older. The Johnson and Johnson/Jansseen is a one-shot dose vaccine and is recommended for people 18 years of age and older. Whichever vaccine you receive, once you have received the recommended number of shots, you are fully vaccinated within two weeks’ time.

For questions or concerns, contact the Glacier County Health Department at 406-873-2924 or check the COVID-19 information provided on the CDC website at cdc.gov.

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