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SF Starts Offering 3rd Vaccine Dose to Immunocompromised

People with certain medical conditions can now get a third dose of Moderna or Pfizer – about 3% of the population
By - posted 8/18/2021 No Comment

San Francisco Offers Third Dose Of Pfizer Or Moderna Vaccines To Immunocompromised People 

A third dose of the Pfizer and Moderna series is offered to people with certain medical conditions based on guidance from federal and state health authorities. 

The San Francisco Department of Public Health (SFDPH) today began offering a third dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 mRNA vaccines to individuals who meet specific criteria for immunocompromised health conditions, such as active cancer treatment, organ transplant, advanced HIV infection, and others.

See the new Health Order about third doses.

SFDPH’s new health advisory aligns with recent guidance from the CDC and the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) and is a response to vaccine trials showing that many people with moderate to severe immunosuppression would benefit from a third dose of the mRNA vaccine series to increase their protection against COVID-19.

UPDATE – The general public will be eligible for booster doses starting September 20 for people who received their second vaccine dose eight months prior or more.

The Basics

People who have moderately or severely compromised immune systems may benefit from an additional dose to make sure they have enough protection against COVID-19. See if you meet the eligibility criteria for a third dose.

If you are moderately or severely immunocompromised, talk to your health care provider about the benefits and risks of getting a third dose.

If your health care provider recommends a third dose of the vaccine, you can usually get the third dose from your health care provider. If you can’t get the third dose from your health care provider, you can get one from another vaccine site.

  • A third dose should come at least 28 days after your second dose of Pfizer or Moderna.
  • The CDC does not recommend additional doses or booster shots for any other group of people.
  • If you are immunocompromised, you should continue to wear a mask, wash your hands and maintain social distance from other people.

See the August 18, 2021 Health Order for more information.

Patients should first consult with their health care provider about their medical condition and whether getting an additional dose is appropriate and safe for them. Eligible individuals should first seek out third doses through their health care providers, if they have one. Doses will also be available through SFDPH- affiliated sites and the San Francisco Health Network.

Who is considered “Immunocompromised” and eligible for third dose?

“When presenting at a SFDPH or affiliated site an individual must self-attest to having one of the following, specific conditions:

  • Receiving active cancer treatment for tumors or cancers of the blood
  • Received an organ transplant and am taking medicine to suppress my immune system
  • Received a stem cell transplant within the last 2 years or am taking medicine to suppress the immune system
  • Moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (e.g., DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome)
  • Advanced or untreated HIV infection
  • Active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids or other drugs that suppress my immune response

People who are immunocompromised have a reduced ability to fight infections and are vulnerable to COVID-19. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has determined that the administration of a third dose may increase protection from the virus for individuals with these health conditions.  Because the vaccine is not 100% effective, persons with immune compromise, including those who receive a 3rd dose, should continue to take additional precautions to prevent COVID infection, including wearing a well-fitted facemask, maintaining social distancing, and avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated indoor spaces whenever possible. Their close contacts should be strongly encouraged to be vaccinated against COVID-19

Based on CDC estimates that approximately 3% of the population meets the criteria, SFDPH expects number of individuals eligible for a third dose to be relatively small.

San Francisco’s protocol remains the same in accommodating special requests from individuals who have received the Janssen (Johnson & Johnson; J&J) viral vector COVID-19 vaccine and who have consulted with a healthcare provider and wish to receive a supplemental dose with an mRNA vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna). Supplemental doses are being provided through Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and other SFDPH-operated vaccination sites to San Francisco residents and to people who can prove they were vaccinated with the J&J vaccine in San Francisco.

How to Make an Appointment
Immunocompromised individuals can make an appointment or find a nearby vaccination site at sf.gov/get-vaccinated. To stop the spread of COVID-19 and protect individuals who are immunocompromised, SFDPH is strongly encouraging everyone who is eligible to get vaccinated, to do so now.

San Francisco’s Health Advisory for a third dose of mRNA vaccine for immunocompromised can be found here: https://sf.gov/getvaccinated