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Immunocompromised patients begin receiving 3rd COVID-19 vaccine

Posted at 10:21 PM, Aug 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-14 22:21:28-04

(WXYZ) — The last year-and-a-half has been challenging for almost everyone, but even more so for Highland Township resident Mary Ann Massard and seven million other Americans like her who are immunocompromised.

“I’ve been worried all along, because of the medication I take, that I didn't get a good response (to the vaccine),” Massard said.

Massard has been fully-vaccinated since February, but her medication for rheumatoid arthritis weakens her immune system. In recent weeks, she's been anxious for a boost.

“Oh, I was waiting. Just waiting to pull the trigger," Massard said. "That’s why as soon as it was announced yesterday or late yesterday, I was ready to go today. And I did.”

Roughly 24 hours after that final vote from the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, Massard was one of the first to receive an authorized third COVID-19 vaccine. It's now available for anyone 12 and up who is considered immunocompromised.

"They didn't define that super tightly, so it’s going to be up to the patient and the doctors who fits that,” said Dr. Matthew Sims, Director of Infectious Disease Research at Beaumont Health.

Dr. Sims said he recommends everyone who’s immunocompromised to talk with their doctor. The booster is just another dose of the same shot, so similar symptoms should be expected.

“With the first shot, the side effects were low. With the second shot, they were a little higher," Dr. Sims said. "The third shot? They may still be a little high. We don’t know because not many people have gotten the third shot yet.”

In the meantime, Massard said she’ll continue to wear a mask and social distance with the delta variant spreading. However, she's thankful people like her will have another layer of protection.

“I feel like I've done everything I can do at this point now to protect myself,” Massard said.

The third shot is currently only available for those who are immunocompromised. Studies are still underway to determine if a third dose will be needed for the general public.