The Wheeling-Ohio County Health Department wants to make sure residents understand that the recent announcement of an Additional Dose of COVID-19 vaccine is different from an announcement of a Booster Dose of COVID-19 vaccine.

The Additional Dose of vaccine, after an initial primary vaccine series, is done when the initial immune response following a primary vaccine series is likely to be insufficient.

A Booster Dose of vaccine is administered when the initial sufficient immune response to a primary vaccine series is likely to have waned over time.  At this time, the need for and timing of a COVID-19 Booster dose has not been established. 

The Wheeling-Ohio County Health Department recommends the additional dose of mRNA COVID-19 vaccine for immunocompromised people. This recommendation is for the use of an additional dose of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine (for persons aged ≥12 years) or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine (for persons aged ≥18 years) after an initial 2-dose primary mRNA COVID-19 vaccine series for moderately to severely immunocompromised people and does not apply to people who received the Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccine.

Those who would be eligible for an additional dose of COVID-19 vaccine would include:

  • Active treatment for solid tumor and hematologic malignancies
  • Receipt of solid-organ transplant and taking immunosuppressive therapy
  • Receipt of CAR-T-cell or hematopoietic stem cell transplant (within 2 years of transplantation or taking immunosuppression therapy)
  • Moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (e.g., DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome)
  • Advanced or untreated HIV infection
  • Active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids (i.e., ≥20mg prednisone or equivalent per day), alkylating agents, antimetabolites, transplant-related immunosuppressive drugs, cancer chemotherapeutic agents classified as severely immunosuppressive, tumor-necrosis (TNF) blockers, and other biologic agents that are immunosuppressive or immunomodulatory

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the additional dose of an mRNA COVID19 vaccine be administered at the earliest four weeks (at least 28 days) after a second dose and a person should not receive more than three mRNA vaccine doses total. The additional mRNA COVID-19 vaccine dose should be the same vaccine product as the initial 2-dose mRNA COVID-19 primary vaccine series (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna). If the mRNA COVID-19 vaccine product given for the first two doses is not available, the other mRNA COVID-19 vaccine product may be administered.

While immunocompromised individuals do not need a prescription, or proof of their condition to get a third dose, individuals are encouraged to talk to their healthcare provider about their medical condition, and whether getting an additional dose is appropriate for them. West Virginians who are immunocompromised and meet CDC eligibility recommendations are strongly encouraged to choose COVID-19 vaccination, which now includes a third dose for mRNA vaccines (Pfizer or Moderna).