Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
First Coast

Southeast Georgia Counties Start Offering COVID Booster Shots To Immunocompromised

AP21219002679733.jpg
Mary Altaffer
/
Associated Press file photo

Health departments in Bryan, Camden, Chatham, Effingham, Glynn, Liberty, Long, and McIntosh counties in Georgia are now offering offering third doses of the Pfizer and Moderna COVID vaccines to immunocompromised people, in line with new federal guidelines for boosters.

Georgia’s Coastal Health District made the announcement Thursday.

“Studies have shown that people with compromised immune systems may not develop a strong enough immune response with just two doses, so getting a third dose will enhance that response,” said Dr. Lawton Davis, health director for the Coastal Health District in an email sent to WJCT News. “If your immune system is compromised because of a medical condition or a medication you’re taking, this additional dose can help strengthen your body’s defense against this dangerous virus.”

The Coastal Health District said those seeking a third dose can provide documentation of their medical condition from their physician or sign a consent form attesting they have a qualifying condition.

Examples of qualifying conditions include receiving an organ or stem cell transplant, undergoing treatment for cancer, having advanced HIV infection, or taking certain immune-suppressing medications. A full list of qualifying conditions is here.

To make an appointment for vaccination at a county health department in Georgia's Coastal Health District, visit chdcovidvax.org or call the COVID-19 Vaccine Phone Line at 912-230-5506. Some vaccination sites allow walk-ins, but the district said appointments are preferred at all sites and are required at the Long and McIntosh County Health Departments.

Later this fall, the Centers for Disease Control expects “booster” doses of Pfizer and Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccines to be available for everyone, regardless of immune system concerns. More information on the timing and availability of booster doses in Georgia is expected soon.

All counties in the eight-county Coastal Health District have vaccination rates below 50%. As cases continue to surge and hospitals reach and exceed their patient capacity, Davis issued an urgent plea for residents to get vaccinated.

“I know some people are still hesitant about the vaccine, but billions of doses of COVID vaccine have been given and it is saving lives. I have no agenda and no reason to be anything other than completely honest. I believe in the vaccines and the science used to create them. I was one of the first in line to get vaccinated and I will be one of first to get a third dose,” he said. “We – all of us – have the power to stop this virus, but we can’t wait any longer.”

Boosters for immunocompromised people in Northeast Florida are also now available at several locations, including Publix and Winn-Dixie pharmacies and the Mayo Clinic.