Local doctors looking over guidance on COVID booster

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — The state is working to set up rules for some vaccinated New Yorkers to get a booster shot.

Over the weekend, the State Health Commissioner announced the state’s COVID Task Force is working on guidelines, so News10NBC caught up with Dr. Ed Walsh, an infectious disease expert with Rochester Regional Health, to learn how the process works.

“These would be people who had organ transplants, so for instance liver, kidney, heart transplants, lung transplants, etc,” Walsh said. “These individuals are heavily immune suppressed and it’s quite clear that these individuals should heavily consider getting a booster dose."

Walsh said other groups who are on immunocompromising medicines should consider the booster, as their medication could reduce the effect of the original dose.

“It would diminish the response to the full dose series of say two doses of the mRNA vaccines Pfizer and Moderna and as well as reduce the effect of the J&J vaccine,” Walsh said.

Because it’s still under Emergency Use Authorization, Walsh said it may be harder for ordinary people to go to a pharmacy and get a booster without their doctor’s authorization.

For now, the task force is encouraging doctors to get in touch with potentially eligible patients and discuss the benefits of receiving an additional dose.

“If you boost that particular group the ones who have had at least some sort of response you would see an actual pretty good response to that third dose, getting them very close to where normal individuals are,” Walsh said.

Walsh said they are on the road to assess and determine if a third booster shot for all Americans who might be needed for extra protection.

As of now, he said the trials will continue and that decision will be announced when they have all of the data.