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Doctors advise waiting for recommendations before receiving 3rd dose of COVID-19 vaccine

Virus Outbreak Booster Shots
Posted at 8:17 AM, Aug 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-11 11:17:57-04

DENVER, Colo. — Doctors are advising people to wait for U.S. government approval before attempting to receive a COVID-19 booster shot. But some are not waiting around and have managed to get a third shot.

Gina Welch lives in Maine. She said she has asthma as well as a liver condition and didn’t want to risk getting COVID-19.

"I felt I had to go take this extra step to protect myself. I don’t want to be one of the 15% of symptomatic cases and get a severe case of long COVID, and then have them say in six months, 'OK, we’re now going to do booster shots,'" Welch said.

Welch decided to go to a different clinic from where she got her first two vaccines and got a third dose.

"I was fully prepared for them to have a system with the CDC and then look me up when they entered my information and say, 'You already had your doses.' But there was nothing, and they gave me my first dose," Welch said.

Welch’s decision is similar to a trend being seen in multiple states.

Dr. Michelle Barron with UCHealth said if you don’t have a compromised immune system, getting a booster might not be necessary. For other groups, it’s important to speak with your doctor before making this decision.

"If you do end up doing this, that you are doing it under the right circumstances so you get the full benefit of the protection," Dr. Barron said.

Barron said studies have shown people with compromised immune systems could benefit from a booster, but until recommendations come out, it could be best to wait.

"There will always be those who say, 'You know, I am willing to take a risk' or 'I really want to do this anyway,' and know that this is not what we would recommend," Barron said.

For Welch, who received her third dose in June, it’s a decision she stands by.

"I feel much safer now in the situation, knowing that I am as protected as I can be," Welch said.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Safety said, in part, “experts are trying to learn more about both natural immunity and vaccine-induced immunity of COVID-19 to determine if/when third doses are needed.”

As of Tuesday, booster shots aren’t officially recommended by the Advisory Committee of Immunization Practices.

This story was originally published by Ivan Rodriguez at KMGH.