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As Delta Variant Rapidly Spreads, Federal Health Officials Approve Third Doses of COVID-19 Vaccine for Some

COVID-19 map of Ohio
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
All but two Ohio counties are now in the red for exposure to COVID-19, described as a Level 3 Public Emergency by the Ohio Department of Health.

The delta variant of COVID-19 continues to spread in Ohio with 2,700 new cases of illness reported Friday. The statewide case average is now at 194 per 100,000 people. Summit County is now in high transmission, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention with 153 cases per 100,000 people.

On Friday, federal health officials authorized administration of a third dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines to people who are severely immunocompromised.

Ohio Health Department Medical Director Dr. Bruce Vanderhoffsays these are people who have had transplants or are severely immunocompromised from cancer or advanced HIV.

Third Doses On the Way
Severely immunocompromised patients now able to receive third shot

“We really do strongly recommend that people who believe that they fall into this category, consider consultation with their provider, or member of their provider team, to explore is this the right decision for them and if it is, what’s the best timing?” he said.

It’s recommended that the third dose be received at a minimum of 28 days from the second dose. Vanderhoff says this is not a “booster” but an extension of the two-dose series for immunocompromised people who don’t seem to have as strong an immune response to just two doses of vaccine.

Vanderhoff says about 3% of Ohioans would qualify for this third dose because they are at heightened risk for serious outcomes from COVID-19.

Watch his news conference here:

ODH Press Conference - COVID-19 Vaccines Third Doses (Aug. 13, 2021)

A Northeast Ohio native, Sarah Taylor graduated from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio where she worked at her first NPR station, WMUB. She began her professional career at WCKY-AM in Cincinnati and spent two decades in television news, the bulk of them at WKBN in Youngstown (as Sarah Eisler). For the past three years, Sarah has taught a variety of courses in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Kent State, where she is also pursuing a Master’s degree. Sarah and her husband Scott, have two children. They live in Tallmadge.