DES MOINES, Iowa — Hy-Vee is now offering third doses of the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines to people with compromised immune systems.
On Friday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention joined the Food and Drug Administration in endorsing an extra COVID-19 vaccine dose for people with moderately to severely compromised immune systems.
The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines offer powerful protection for otherwise healthy people, but people who take immune-suppressing medications or have diseases that weaken their immune systems generally get less benefit from the standard two doses.
CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said it’s an important step in ensuring that people most vulnerable to COVID-19 can get as much protection as possible from the vaccines.
The CDC says third doses of the vaccines should only be administered to immunocompromised people at least 28 days after getting their second dose. It is strongly recommended that people receive the same vaccine manufacturer as their previous doses.
The CDC outlines what conditions are considered severely to moderately immunocompromised here.
Hy-Vee is offering third doses free of charge at more than 275 Hy-Vee Pharmacy locations across its eight-state region. The third doses are available to eligible patients on a walk-in basis, so no appointment is necessary. Patients will not need to show proof of their condition to receive a third dose.
The Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine has not yet been authorized by the CDC and FDA for third-dose use.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government’s top infectious disease expert, said COVID-19 booster shots aren’t needed yet for the general population.
“We believe sooner or later you will need a booster for durability of protection” — but not yet, Fauci said this week.
U.S. health officials are continuing to monitor if and when the average person’s immunity wanes enough to require boosters for everyone.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.