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August 17, 2021

COVID-19 booster shots offered to immunocompromised patients by pharmacies, Black Doctors Consortium

The news comes as the Biden administration is scheduled to recommend all adults to get the booster

Health News COVID-19
COVID-19 Booster Shots for Immunocompromised People Nathan Papes/Springfield News-Leader

Philadelphia pharmacies and the Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium are offering booster shots this week in an effort to protect those with weaker immune systems from contracting and transmitting COVID-19.

Pharmacies in Philadelphia and the Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium said they will start offering booster vaccines to immunocompromised patients this week in an effort to help curb the spread of COVID-19.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has stated that people with weaker immune systems, including people with cancer, HIV and organ transplants, should get a third shot of the vaccine to better protect themselves from the virus.

However, the Biden administration and top health officials are set to announce this week that most Americans — regardless of if they are immunocompromised or not — should roll up their sleeves for a third shot, too, CNN reported.

The fast-spreading delta variant of COVID-19 has caused a surge in cases across the country, and top health officials are working to stop the transmission of the virus. In Philadelphia, Mayor Jim Kenney reinstated the city's indoor mask requirement last week as cases spread. 

The Consortium announced Monday that people who are immunocompromised can get a third shot of the vaccine at the Evangelist Church in North Philadelphia. The clinic is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day except Wednesday.

CVS and Walgreens also are offering booster shots in order to stop the spread of the virus amid the highly contagious spread of the delta variant.

Patients can sign up to get a shot at CVS online, and Walgreens is offering walk-in appointments at several Philadelphia locations. Those interested need to have had both shots of Pfizer or Moderna's vaccine at least four weeks ago.

The Biden administration's recommendation for all Americans to get a third shot will likely be announced sometime this week. 

While the plan is still under development, officials estimate they would have the third round of shots in people's arms starting in mid-to-late-September. Pfizer also announced that it submitted data to the Food and Drug Administration to support the use of booster vaccines, as it offers a higher antibody response against COVID-19 and the delta and beta variants.

"This initial data indicate that we may preserve and even exceed the high levels of protection against the wild-type virus and relevant variants using a third dose of our vaccine," Dr. Ugur Sahin, CEO and co-founder of BioNTech, told CNN. "A booster vaccine could help reduce infection and disease rates in people who have previously been vaccinated and better control the spread of virus variants during the coming season."

Officials say that older populations, health care workers and nursing home patients are likely to be the first to receive booster shots. The booster shot plan is currently just for patients who were vaccinated with two shots from Pfizer and Moderna, though they are still gathering data for Johnson & Johnson.

This news comes as Philadelphia officials are pushing for more residents to get fully vaccinated for COVID-19.

As of Aug. 17, nearly 80% of adults in Philadelphia have received at least one shot of the vaccine, and 64% are fully vaccinated. The number of younger adults who have been vaccinated is much lower — only about half of 18-to-44-year-olds have gotten one dose so far.

Local artists, organizations and Jefferson Hospital are coming together for the Vax Up Philly Parade on Aug. 22 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The city is not involved in the planning of the parade, but some city representatives are scheduled to speak at the event.

The event will span Broad Street from FDR Park to the start of North Philadelphia. It will feature mini-concerts and three vaccine clinics through Jefferson's Mobile Community Vaccination Program, Billy Penn reported.

The clinics will set up shop at:

• FDR Park from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
• Dilworth Park from 2:30-3:30 p.m.
• OIC on North Broad from 4-5 p.m.

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