NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Tuesday was the first day Metro Nashville Public Health administered an additional dose of the COVID-19 vaccine for those who are immunocompromised.
News 2 spoke with Brian Todd, a spokesperson for the Metro Public Health Department, who said this decision follows the CDC’s approval.
“We have been working toward this knowing that the FDA and CDC may be moving in that direction. Part of the focus has been the drive thru center out on Murfreesboro Pike,” said Todd.
Todd said the additional dose has only been approved for those with compromised immune systems.
The FDA said third doses can only be given at least four weeks after receiving a second dose and should be the same brand as previous shots.
Based on the recommendations from the FDA and CDC, moderately and severely immunocompromised individuals, are defined as:
- Receiving active cancer treatment for tumors or cancers of the blood
- Received an organ transplant and are taking medicine to suppress the immune system
- Received a stem cell transplant within the last 2 years or are taking medicine to suppress the immune system
- Moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (such as DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome)
- Advanced or untreated HIV infection
- Active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids or other drugs that may suppress your immune response
Todd told News 2 people will not need to provide proof of these conditions, but they will need to bring their CDC vaccination card for documentation purposes.
“There is room on that existing card, to put that third dose and the date. I believe if they went to a pharmacy, grocery or walk-in clinic they would be doing the same thing,” said Todd.
Todd said Metro Health has noticed an uptick in those wanting vaccinations in just the last month alone.
“In mid-July, the drive thru was probably averaging 20 people a day to come in to get the vaccine. Really, the most recent numbers are more like 50 or 60 people coming in a day. So, those numbers are increasing, but also Meharry has the capacity at the drive thru center. We were giving 500 a day when everyone was coming in,” explained Todd.
Todd said in regard to Davidson County residents, about 49.7% are fully vaccinated and 55.7% have received at least one dose of the vaccine at this time.
“We are continuing to move up. Are we moving as fast as we want to? Definitely not. I’m sure people working long hours at the hospitals and taking care of patients, they feel the same way. People just need to get vaccinated, that’s our only most effective path out of this pandemic,” explained Todd.
Todd said the biggest challenge they have is getting folks to get the vaccine.
“You’re hearing about these deaths that are preventable, you’re hearing about hospitals reaching capacity, loved ones or friends you may have heard are in the hospital now. Getting people vaccinated is without a doubt the most challenging that we are seeing. I think also making sure people have the information that people need,” said Todd.
Todd said this additional shot for those with compromised immune systems is meant to boost up those individuals and make sure they are protected as the Delta variant spreads.
“Now that we know the Delta variant is much easier to pass from person to person, especially from those who are not vaccinated. As I keep hearing from the hospitals, the vast majority of people in the hospital, in the ICU dying from this disease are those that are not vaccinated. So it is completely preventable,” he stated.
Vaccinations are available at Metro Health’s drive drive-thru vaccinate site at 2491 Murfreesboro Pike from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday. Over the next three days, Metro Health will also provide COVID-19 vaccines at nine different community vaccination events.
Click here to find a COVID-19 vaccine community site near you.
CVS has online appointment scheduling for those with compromised immune systems to receive the third vaccine.
Walgreens is also taking in walk-ins for a third shot at select locations.