On Thursday, August 19th, Health Departments in the Coastal Health District will begin offering a third dose of COVID-19 vaccine to individuals with certain immune conditions. Third doses are only recommended for immunocompromised individuals who previously received the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.
“Studies have shown that people with compromised immune systems may not develop a strong enough immune response with just two doses, so getting a third dose will enhance that response,” said Dr. Lawton Davis, health director for the Coastal Health District. “If your immune system is compromised because of a medical condition or a medication you’re taking, this additional dose can help strengthen your body’s defense against this dangerous virus.”
Those seeking a third dose can provide documentation of their medical condition from their physician or sign a consent form attesting they have a qualifying condition. Examples of qualifying conditions include receiving an organ or stem cell transplant, undergoing treatment for cancer, having advanced HIV infection, or taking certain immune-suppressing medications. A list of qualifying conditions can be found at gachd.org/covidvaccine/.
To make an appointment for vaccination at your local county health department in the Coastal Health District, visit chdcovidvax.org or call the COVID-19 Vaccine Phone Line at 912-230-5506. Some vaccination sites allow walk-ins, but appointments are preferred at all sites and are required at the Long and McIntosh County Health Departments.
Later this fall, the Centers for Disease Control expects “booster” doses of Pfizer and Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccines to be available for residents without immune system concerns. A booster dose can create longer-lasting protection. More information on the timing and availability of booster doses will be released soon.
All counties in the eight-county Coastal Health District have vaccination rates below 50 percent. As cases continue to surge and hospitals reach and exceed their patient capacity, Davis issued an urgent plea for residents to get vaccinated.
“I know some people are still hesitant about the vaccine, but billions of doses of COVID vaccine have been given and it is saving lives. I have no agenda and no reason to be anything other than completely honest. I believe in the vaccines and the science used to create them. I was one of the first in line to get vaccinated and I will be one of first to get a third dose,” he said. “We – all of us – have the power to stop this virus, but we can’t wait any longer.”
For more information on additional doses of COVID-19 vaccine, please visit cdc.gov.