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Immunocompromised adults who received a third dose of either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID vaccine will become eligible for a fourth booster shot six months after receiving their third dose, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The CDC quietly updated its COVID vaccine guidance Monday for immunocompromised people.
“In such situations, people who are moderately and severely immunocompromised may receive a total of four vaccine doses,” with the fourth coming at least six months after the third, the CDC’s new guidelines said.
In August, the CDC authorized a third dose of either Pfizer-BioNTech or the Moderna mRNA vaccine — but not Johnson and Johnson’s (J&J) adenovirus vaccine — for certain immunocompromised people 18 and older.
However, a third dose is now considered part of the primary series, rather than a booster.
The earliest that immunocompromised people who received a third mRNA vaccine shot can get a fourth shot as a booster would be February. The agency said people could select that booster from any of the three COVID vaccines available in the U.S, including J&J.
The new recommendations also specified that a fourth dose of Moderna’s vaccine should be half the size of a normal dose, and that immunocompromised adults who received the J&J shot get another dose of any one of the three vaccine brands, at least two months after their initial shot.
Research shows people with compromised immune systems don’t mount an adequate immune response following vaccination — the purpose of the third dose was to raise their immunity levels to what’s seen in people with normal immune systems after two doses.
The goal of this fourth dose is to “combat waning immunity.” It would serve the same purpose as a booster dose given to people without immune deficiencies six months after they were initially vaccinated.
Some experts are concerned about the effects of giving a fourth vaccine dose to the immunocompromised population — which has not been studied for safety or efficacy, or signed off on by the FDA or CDC’s vaccine safety advisors.
“Dosing of COVID-19 vaccines is worrisome for accumulation of spike protein in the human body,” said Dr. Peter McCullough, a consultant and cardiologist.
“With each injection, there is an uncontrolled production of the SARS-CoV-2 pathogenic spike protein which goes on for weeks or months. Recent evidence in the SARS-CoV-2 respiratory infection has found that the S1 segment of the spike protein is recoverable in human monocytes over a year after the illness.
“With repeated doses of the COVID-19 vaccines, the spike protein will progressively accumulate in the brain, heart and other vital organs exceeding the rate of clearance. The spike protein is well known to cause disease, such as myocarditis and neurologic damage as well as injuring blood vessels and promoting blood clotting.”
Brian Hooker, Ph.D., P.E., Children’s Health Defense chief scientific officer and professor of biology at Simpson University, told The Defender:
“As the CDC is now recommending a fourth dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, we are in uncharted territory regarding vaccine efficacy and adverse events. Rechallenging a sensitized immune system with the same pathogen over and over again could lead to an exponential increase in vaccine injuries with each additional jab.”
CDC director hints definition of fully vaccinated may change as more get boosters
Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the CDC, on Oct. 22 said the U.S. may need to amend its definition of “fully vaccinated” against COVID as more Americans become eligible to receive booster shots.
“Right now we don’t have booster eligibility for all people currently,” Walensky said during a White House COVID-19 response team press briefing. “So we have not yet changed the definition of fully vaccinated. We will continue to look at this. We may need to update our definition of fully vaccinated in the future.”
But Hooker questioned the CDC’s moving of the goalposts when it comes to the definition of fully vaccinated. “If the first two or three shots didn’t work, why would the fourth shot work? ‘If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again’ does not apply to immune systems.”
CDC now says people with ‘mood disorders’ are eligible for boosters
The CDC on Oct. 14 added mood disorders to the list of conditions that put people at high risk for severe COVID, expanding booster eligibility to millions of people based on their mental health diagnosis alone, The Washington Post reported.
The CDC added “mental health conditions” to a long list of mostly physical conditions that make someone likely to be hospitalized, need a ventilator or die of COVID.
“This is a population that is really, really at risk due to the way that COVID-19 interacts with the diagnoses,” said Lisa Dailey, executive director of the Treatment Advocacy Center. “Until the CDC put this group of disorders on their list, they would not have known that.”
The change means people with “mood disorders, including depression and schizophrenia spectrum disorders” can get vaccinated with initial doses and boosters, according to the CDC.
In 2019, more than 19 million people — nearly 8% — of adults in the U.S. had at least one episode of depression, and at least half that number were diagnosed with depression, bipolar disorder or schizophrenia, according to federal data.
According to research published this month in the Lancet, the pandemic triggered an additional 53 million cases of depression worldwide in 2020 — a 28% increase from the previous year.
Advocates at the local and national level lobbied the CDC for months to consider adding mental illness to the high-risk list, which already included substance use disorders, such as addiction to alcohol, opioids or cocaine.