White House Recommends Third COVID-19 Vaccine Doses for All Adults

By: Courtney Caprara

The White House today recommended COVID-19 vaccine booster doses for adults who received the Pfizer and Moderna mRNA vaccinations.

The reason for this recommendation, which is awaiting authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is because the impact of the vaccines on the immune system might wane over time.

Dr. Donald M. Yealy

“The current vaccines do an excellent job at protecting us from severe COVID-19 infections. The recommendation for a third does not mean we are unprotected, but it will ensure the ongoing protection we already have,” said Dr. Donald M. Yealy, UPMC’s chief medical officer.

Third doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are already approved for immunocompromised individuals, who may have had a weaker immune response to their initial vaccinations. Those who qualify should schedule their additional dose as soon as possible to ensure maximum protection against COVID-19. They can do so by calling 844-UPMCVAC (844-876-2822).

For individuals who are not immunocompromised, the White House recommends they get their booster shot eight months after receiving their initial two doses of either Moderna or Pfizer. However, booster shots will be administered only after the FDA formally authorizes this expanded use, with a targeted start date of September 20. Federal health officials are waiting for more data before offering guidance for those vaccinated with Johnson & Johnson.

“As we plan for boosters, our main goal remains providing first and second doses to those who are still unvaccinated and providing third doses to immunocompromised people,” said Yealy. “The average healthy individual is well-protected with their first two doses, and they do not need to rush to get a third shot at this time.”

For more information about COVID-19 vaccination, visit Vaccine.UPMC.com.