Immunocompromised patients have been at an extraordinarily high risk of contracting the virus over the past year and a half. The COVID vaccination didn’t change that for many people.
That’s why, in a conference on Thursday, a panel of independent CDC experts overwhelmingly backed allowing immunocompromised patients to talk to their doctors about getting a third dose, a booster, that might improve their antibody response to immunizations.
The advisory group, however, did not offer a formal recommendation, stating that further evidence and, eventually, regulatory approval from the Food and Drug Administration were required.
About 2.7 percent of individuals in the United States are immunocompromised, a term that encompasses cancer patients, transplant recipients, HIV patients, and those on high-dose steroids.
“We want for a fuller life,” said Phil Canudo, a kidney transplant recipient from Akron, Ohio, who told the CDC advisory group on Thursday that after two Pfizer injections, he had no antibody reaction.
He choked up as he remarked, “I can’t wait to visit my stepdaughter’s new Colorado house.” “A medium-rare steak at the Diamond Grill is what I’m looking for.”
During the public comment period, Canudo informed the CDC advisory panel that he was advised he still had to act as if he hadn’t been vaccinated.
“I implore you, even implore you, to propose that we be given a third vaccine shot,” he added. “The advantage may reintroduce us to the rest of the globe.”
At the same time, pressure is growing as other nations, like France and Israel, have already approved boosters for immunocompromised people. As the delta variety wreaks havoc in the United States, discussion regarding booster injections for the general population has heated up.
A booster injection might raise antibodies in an immunocompromised individual by up to 50%, according to data presented at the symposium.
The findings were presented by Dr. Sara Oliver, an epidemiologist with the CDC, who also noted how immunocompromised persons are a priority category for booster research since they are at higher risk of catastrophic COVID-related outcomes.
In one research in the United States, 44 percent of hospitalized breakthrough cases were patients who were immunocompromised.
According to Israeli research, it’s approximately 40%. People who test positive for COVID-19 when fully vaccinated are considered breakthrough cases. Although the vaccinations are very successful in preventing serious sickness and hospitalization, it is possible for persons who have been vaccinated to suffer moderate or asymptomatic illness.
“Vaccination is something we’d want to do. Vaccinate, vaccinate, vaccinate has been the theme of this meeting “a member of the panel, Dr. Pablo Sanchez, remarked “These folks want to be vaccinated and aren’t anti-vaccine. And it seemed to me that this is something we should encourage.”
He suggested that the FDA should “at least approve it until we get additional evidence,” since “we really need to assist this group more.” Sanchez claimed that patients could end up taking matters into their own hands.
Phil, of Akron, stated that he intended to do so.
“Hundreds of us lie about our prior vaccines to pharmacies and immunization centers in order to acquire an extra illegal dose,” he told the committee. “I’m sure that’s what I’ll be doing if further dosages aren’t approved.”
Another ACIP member, Dr. Sandra Fryhofer, an American Medical Association liaison, pointed out that there are millions of extra vaccine doses in the United States right now that aren’t being used.
Simultaneously, immunocompromised individuals are doing “all they can” yet still aren’t receiving protection.
“I truly share the worries that our ACIP colleagues have voiced about, you know, our immunocompromised people who are doing everything they can by being vaccinated, by having their close contacts get vaccinated, and it’s not enough because they’re still not protected,” Fryhofer said.
Additional studies are being evaluated, and the FDA is expected to offer regulatory advice in the near future.