GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – As new variants of coronavirus emerge, health experts continue to push vaccinations as the best way to stay protected against the virus and to slow the spread.
As part of our ask the expert series, in partnership with Bon Secours St. Francis, 7NEWS spoke with a rheumatologist about COVID-19 vaccines for those who are immunocompromised.
People who are immunocompromised are especially vulnerable to COVID-19 and the CDC said they should receive the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible.
“When your immune system isn’t working properly, for whatever reason, you’re not as well equipped to fight off infections or anything,” Dr. Idrees said.
A person is conidered immunocompromised under four major categories: through a congenital disorder, through acquired conditions such as diabetes and HIV, through certain medications and treatments, and through autoimmune diseases.
Dr. Mona Idrees, a rheumatologist, sets the record straight amid vaccine hesitancy for those with autoimmune diseases, like rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and Graves’ disease, to name a few.
“Under no circumstances should there be any confusion that those patients are going to respond or have a side effect of vaccination more than somebody doesn’t have one, so it is more important for that person to be vaccinated,” Dr. Idress said.
Health experts said all eligible adults should receive a COVID-19 booster 6 to 8 months after they complete their initial vaccine series.
In addition to a booster down the line, those who are moderatly to severly immunocompromised should get an additional primary dose after receiving the second shot.
“Those patients are actually advised by the CDC to have an additional dose of the first set of vaccine, just a month after the first two.”Dr. Mona Idrees / Rheumatologist, Bon Secours St. Francis
The additional primary dose is only approved for the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines right now.
If you have concerns about getting your vaccine, Dr. Idrees said talk to your doctor for peace of mind.
“I cannot think of anybody, I cannot think of a single group that should not be getting the COVID-19 vaccine.”Dr. Mona Idrees / Rheumatologist, Bon Secours St. Francis
For more information on who is eligible for COVID-19 booster shots, click here.
To submit a health topic for our Ask the Expert series, click here.