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Doctor and Patient

Certain People with Weak Immune Systems Need a COVID-19 Booster

The FDA has just authorized an additional dose of COVID-19 vaccine for certain people who have a compromised immune system. This approval is due to the mounting data showing that for these immune compromised individuals, the first complete series of vaccines do not provide a high enough antibody response and a third dose has been shown to increase this antibody response.

Those who have received an organ transplant or diagnosed with a similar level of compromised immunity are authorized to get an additional dose of either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines.

Acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock, M.D. said this newest wave of the COVID-19 pandemic has put a small, yet vulnerable group of people at greater risk.

“Today’s action allows doctors to boost immunity in certain immunocompromised individuals who need extra protection from COVID-19,” Woodcock said in a statement issued Aug. 12 by the FDA.

“People who are fully vaccinated are protected from severe disease and death, including from the variants currently circulating in the country, such as Delta,” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention CDC wrote in a statement. “People who are not vaccinated remain at risk. Virtually all COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths are among those who are unvaccinated.”

Woman Recovering From Cancer

Fully vaccinated individuals with the following conditions should schedule appointments for booster doses of the COVID-19 vaccine:
 

  • History of Solid Organ Transplant
  • History of Bone Marrow or Stem Cell Transplant
  • Current Cancer or on Chemotherapy
  • HIV
  • Chronic Steroid Use for 1 Month of More
  • Use of Immune Modulating Therapies Such as Rituximab
  • Kidney Disease Requiring Dialysis
  • Presence of Cirrhosis
  • Inherited or Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes link

Criteria for scheduling and vaccination may change as more information comes out.

Stop the spread

The rise of Delta and other variants makes it crucial to get fully vaccinated. AltaMed has free vaccine events for anyone 12 years old and up. You can also contact our vaccine hotline at (888) 909-5232 if you are one of the few who need a COVID-19 booster shot.

In the meantime, regardless of your vaccination status:
 

  • You need to follow local and state safety guidelines.
  • Wear a face mask when indoors or in crowds to protect yourself and others.
  • Maintain hand hygiene — use hand sanitizer to clean hands frequently, and wash hands for 20 seconds at a time.
  • Practice physical distancing — stay six feet apart from others whether inside or outside.
  • Wipe down any surfaces you touch.

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Elbow Delta

Stay on Guard as Deadly Delta Variant Cases Rise

Millions of residents in Los Angeles and Orange County have gotten at least one dose of a vaccine against COVID-19. Now a more contagious, deadlier strain of the virus —Delta — is spreading across the country and affecting those who have not been fully vaccinated.

Having at least one dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines provides limited protection, but only fully vaccinated individuals are well protected from the Delta variant. The alarming number of new infections from this highly contagious version of the coronavirus has prompted the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health to strongly recommend wearing a mask indoors to stay protected. Now is not the time for communities to lower their guard as the fight to stop the spread of COVID-19 continues.

Doctor Using a Microscope

What is a variant?

Viruses are always mutating. Think about the flu virus. There is a different strain to fight each year because it is constantly changing.

The same is happening with the virus that causes COVID-19.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is currently tracking four variants in the United States:

  • Alpha — This was first discovered in the United Kingdom. It was detected in the U.S. in December 2020.
  • Beta — This first appeared in South Africa in December. It appeared in the U.S. in January 2021.
  • Gamma — This was discovered in Japan in early January, carried by travelers from Brazil. It showed up in the U.S. later that month.
  • Delta — This was identified in India in December of last year. The first U.S. case appeared in March 2021.

These variants are the most contagious and, left unchecked, can put a remarkable strain on the health care system which may ultimately lead to more deaths.

Woman with Band Aid on Arm

Stopping the spread

No matter how much we would like to, we can’t go back to how our lives were before the pandemic yet. The Delta variant has the potential to spark new outbreaks across the United States and around the world.

  • Get vaccinated — Vaccines are the fastest and most effective way to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
  • Give vaccines time to work — It takes about two weeks for your immune system to be protected.
  • Use caution in group gatherings — The safest social gatherings are those where all participants have been fully vaccinated.
  • Masks protect against new strains — The coronavirus needs new hosts in order to mutate. Masks help prevent infections and therefore lower the risk of new variants developing.
Group of People Having a Conversation

Don’t ease up

For now, if you have been fully vaccinated:

  • You still need to follow local and state safety guidelines.
  • Wear a face mask when indoors or in crowds to protect yourself and others.
  • Maintain hand hygiene — use hand sanitizer to clean hands frequently, and wash hands for 20 seconds at a time.
  • Practice physical distancing — stay six feet apart from others whether inside or outside.
  • Wipe down any surfaces you touch.

For more information about the vaccine or testing, please visit AltaMed.org or call our vaccine hotline at (888) 909-5232. Find a vaccine event happening in your community here.

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Woman On Bus Don't Let Your Guard Down Vaccine

Don’t Lower Your Guard Against COVID, Even After Receiving the Vaccine

If you are one of the Los Angeles and Orange County residents who has received one of the three approved COVID-19 vaccines, you are not in the clear to resume life as usual just yet. While the vaccine provides much needed relief in the fight against coronavirus, these are some of the key reasons why we must remain vigilant against COVID-19:
 

  • No vaccine is 100% effective — One in 20 people can still get COVID-19 after the vaccine.
  • Vaccines don’t work instantly — It takes about two weeks for your immune system to be protected.
  • You can still spread the virus — Most vaccines prevent you from becoming sick but not from passing the virus to others if you become infected.
  • Masks protect others — People with other diseases are at a higher risk of becoming very ill if they get COVID-19.
  • Masks protect against new strains — Some are more contagious.
Waiting in Line

Remember, if you received the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine, two doses are required for your immune system to create enough antibodies to give you a greater than 95% chance of fighting off the virus. It is also important to complete your vaccine doses as close to the recommended interval as possible. According to the CDC, you have to wait at least 21 days before getting the second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and 28 days before getting the second dose of the Moderna vaccine. If you receive the second dose too soon, you won’t get the 95% protection rate. 

Only one dose is required of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Remember, you are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after you’ve received any one of the three vaccines. 

What Has Changed For Those Who Are Fully Vaccinated?
 

  • You can gather indoors with fully vaccinated people without wearing a mask.
  • You can gather indoors with unvaccinated people from one other household (for example, visiting with relatives who all live together) without masks, unless any of those people or anyone they live with has an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19
  • If you have been around someone who has COVID-19, you do not need to stay away from others or get tested unless you have symptoms. 
  • However, if you live in a group setting and are around someone who has COVID-19, you should still stay away from others for 14 days and get tested, even if you don’t have symptoms.
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What Has Not Changed?

For now, if you have been fully vaccinated:
 

  • You will still need to follow the following guidelines for businesses.
  • Wear your masks — Face masks to protect others.
  • Maintain hand hygiene — Use hand sanitizer to clean hands frequently, and wash hands for 20 seconds at a time. 
  • Practice physical distancing — Stay six feet apart from others whether inside or outside. 
  • Wipe down any surfaces you touch. 

For more information about the vaccine or testing, please visit AltaMed.org or call our vaccine hotline at (888) 909-5232.

Certain People with Weak Immune Systems Need a COVID-19 Booster