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Why the FDA might approve 3rd COVID shot for immunocompromised patients

It's unclear exactly how health leaders would roll out any third booster shot, but Dr. Alfred Kim said patients should talk to their doctor about the possibility

Logging on Thursday morning, Washington University's Dr. Alfred Kim called his morning "hectic," after news broke that the Food and Drug Administration would likely authorize a third dose of the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines as a booster for people with compromised immune systems.

"Even though boosting is now going to be available for a small part of the population they're the ones that really need it," Kim, an Assistant Professor of Medicine and Co-Director of the Lupus Clinic at Washington University School of Medicine, said.

Kim explained the reason the FDA decision would largely have to do with the patients' weakened immune system and other medications.

"Immunocompromised people have immune systems that are blunted because of the medications they're taking, whether it's for cancer or for transplantation or for other autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, or multiple sclerosis," he said.

It's unclear exactly how health leaders will roll out any third booster shot, but Kim said anyone who falls into this category should consult with their doctor about another dose.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, says it's possible more people could become eligible for a third dose, but the data doesn't show a need for the additional shot yet.

"Inevitably there will be a time when we'll have to give boosts. What we're doing literally on a weekly and monthly basis, is following cohorts of patients to determine if, when, and whom should get it," Fauci said. "But right now, at this moment, other than the immuno-compromised, we're not gonna be giving boosters to people."

Contact reporter Sara Machi on Facebook and Twitter.

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