Medical experts said that because the immunocompromised are more vulnerable, it makes sense for them to get another dose of the vaccine. But for everyone else, they say it’s still too early to tell.
As the fourth dose of the COVID vaccine becomes available to those 12 and up, health officials are urging those with weakened or damaged immune systems to consider making an appointment.
“The booster is recommended for everyone, but for immunocompromised patients, in particular, that third shot is not a booster,” said Dr. Carlos Malvestutto, an infectious disease doctor with Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. “It’s actually just part of the series.”
He said those who are immunocompromised should get at least three COVID shots, with the fourth acting as a booster.
Those who are not immunocompromised should only need a third dose as their booster.
“There’s a very select few people that are going to qualify for this because it really is protecting those that need it the most,” said Aryeh Alex, a Columbus man with a compromised immune system.
Alex said getting his fourth shot was only a matter of time.
He currently works as the commissioner for Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks but had to take some time away after catching COVID-19. Now, he’s glad to be able to receive his fourth shot.
“I feel great,” Alex said. “I’m glad to have that extra added protection.”
But as for whether everyone will need a fourth shot, Malvestutto says research into that is still being done.
“But you know, we are reacting to the science, what science is actually showing us we need to do to maintain the highest level of protection for everybody,” he said.
Only approximately 3 percent of Ohioans are considered eligible for a fourth shot, meaning very few have taken it so far.