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CDC advisory panel OKs third shot for some immunocompromised people

The CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices approved those who are immunocompromised to get an additional Pfizer or Moderna shot.

NORTH CAROLINA, USA — The CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices gave the green light for a third COVID-19 shot for some that are immunocompromised Friday afternoon. 

This comes after the FDA approved the move Thursday. The approval only covers shots for Pfizer and Moderna. Health experts on the panel said they're still waiting on data for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to come back, and will likely have more information on that soon. 

"We can start giving that third shot the primary series to immunocompromised people and I encourage them to get it," said Wake Forest Baptist Health Infectious Disease Expert Dr. Christopher Ohl during a COVID-19 update Thursday. 

That green light was given for the people age 12 and up who got Pfizer and age 18 and up for Moderna. 

Health experts said they'll revisit the guidance if Moderna gets approved for a younger population.

The CDC plans to update resources to give providers and patients a better idea of who is recommended to get additional doses.

During the CDC ACIP meeting, doctors stressed while a third, additional shot will make this group of immuno-compromised people safer, they'll still be considered high risk and will need to take precautions to keep themselves healthy. 

Dr. Ohl says for healthy people booster shots aren't recommended yet. 

"Seems like everyone wants one and some people are going out to find ways to get them outside of the usual systems. I don't really encourage that for healthy people. It doesn't really seem like we need a booster right now. If we do need a booster let's do it in a way that's based on data," said Dr. Ohl.

The CDC also issued guidance recently, saying pregnant women should get the COVID-19 shot. 

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Doctors are continuing the conversation with their patients, as concerns grow over the delta variant, and pregnant women end up in the ICU.

"Speaking to my colleagues across the country as well as here in Charlotte, it's unprecedented the number of pregnant women on a ventilator right now. Many of my colleagues who have worked in this profession for decades are shocked and horrified by how the ICUs are filling up with pregnant women, said Novant Health Maternal Fetal Medicine Specialist Dr. Amelia Sutton.

Dr. Sutton with Novant health said a vast majority are unvaccinated.

"We've seen over the past year and a half to now that COVID and pregnancy poses an extraordinary risk to both the mother and the baby. Women are at a 3-fold higher risk of developing severe disease," she said. 

Dr. Sutton says with the CDCs latest guidance for pregnant women to get vaccinated she hopes more will get vaccinated as soon as possible.

"Of the patients who are pregnant who have received the vaccine in all trimesters we have not seen any adverse effects. So we are recommending anytime at pregnancy it's safe to get the vaccine. They also looked at this around the time to conceive, so no effects on fertility that we have seen," she said.

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