With recent guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Wisconsin Department of Health Services (WI DHS), ThedaCare is now administering third doses and boosters of COVID-19 vaccine for those who are eligible to increase protection against COVID-19.
The FDA recently updated its Emergency Use Authorizations (EUA) and recommended third doses of COVID-19 mRNA vaccine (Pfizer and Moderna) for those with immunosuppressive conditions that include, but are not limited to:
- Active treatment for solid tumor and hematologic malignancies
- Receipt of solid-organ transplant and taking immunosuppressive therapy
- Receipt of CAR-T-cell or hematopoietic stem cell transplant (within 2 years of transplantation or taking immunosuppression therapy)
- Moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (e.g., DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome)
- Advanced or untreated HIV infection
- Active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids, alkylating agents, antimetabolites, transplant-related immunosuppressive drugs, cancer chemotherapeutic agents classified as severely immunosuppressive, tumor-necrosis (TNF) blockers, and other biologic agents that are immunosuppressive or immunomodulatory
“Third doses are intended to help those with weakened immune systems catch up to the level of protection as people with healthy immune systems achieve in two,” explained Dr. Mark Cockley, ThedaCare Chief Clinical Officer. “For those who do not have weakened immune systems, the two-dose vaccine or the single-dose Johnson & Johnson shot are considered fully vaccinated — even without a third dose or booster.”
Patients requesting third dose vaccines will self-attest to their immunocompromised status to reduce barriers to receiving vaccine. The additional dose should be administered at least 28 days following completion of the initial vaccine series. The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) strongly recommends that patients should receive the same vaccine product as the first two doses. However, if that is not feasible, a dose of the other mRNA COVID-19 vaccine is permitted.
Patients who received Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccine are not authorized for additional doses at this time, per FDA guidelines.
On September 22, 2021, the FDA amended the EUA for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to allow for use of a single booster dose, to be administered at least six months after completion of the primary series in:
- Individuals 65 years of age and older
- Individuals 18 through 64 years of age at high risk of severe COVID-19
- Individuals 18 through 64 years of age whose frequent institutional or occupational exposure to SARS-CoV-2 puts them at high risk of serious complications of COVID-19 including severe COVID-19, including, but not limited to:
- First responders (health care workers, firefighters, police, staff at congregate care facilities)
- Education staff (teachers, support staff, childcare workers)
- Food and agriculture workers
- Manufacturing workers
- Corrections workers
- U.S. Postal Service workers
- Public transit workers
- Grocery store workers
For the individuals listed above, a booster dose will strengthen and extend their protection against infection, serious illness, hospitalization, and death from COVID-19, according to WI DHS.
“The formulation of the third dose and booster shot currently remains the same as the original vaccine,” said Dr. Cockley. “The difference in calling one a third dose and the other a booster shot is more of a matter of timing. A booster shot will be administered at least six months after completion of the primary series.”
The Pfizer booster authorization only applies to people whose primary series was Pfizer vaccine. Those who received Moderna or Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccine are not authorized for booster doses at this time, per FDA guidelines.
How to Schedule
ThedaCare will continue to manage COVID-19 vaccine scheduling through the preferred method of MyThedaCare/My Chart. This process ensures a single channel of coordination of the vaccine and that the vaccine becomes part of patients’ electronic medical records. ThedaCare patients and community members can also schedule appointments by calling 920.830.6877 or 800.236.2236.
Individuals do not need to be an established ThedaCare patient to a receive Pfizer COVID-19 booster shots, additional COVID-19 doses or any COVID-19 vaccination. If you’re not a current ThedaCare patient or do not have MyThedaCare, you can set up a free account at MyThedaCare.org. MyThedaCare is also accessible on mobile devices through the MyChart app (available on both iOS and Android).
Create a MyThedaCare Account:
- Visit MyThedaCare.org
- Click “Sign Up Now” and follow the prompts
- Visit MyThedaCare today to ensure your account information is up to date*. Then monitor your email and app alerts in the coming weeks for your notification.
If you cannot find the information you need or are having trouble accessing your MyThedaCare account, please call the MyThedaCare technical help desk at 877.259.6180.
ThedaCare encourages all community members who are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, do so. In addition to receiving a COVID-19 vaccine, ThedaCare also recommends community members to adhere to masking guidelines from the CDC, stay home when you are feeling sick, get tested if you have symptoms of COVID-19 and physically distance when you are with others outside of your household.
For more than 110 years, ThedaCare® has been committed to improving the health and well-being of the communities it serves in Northeast and Central Wisconsin. The organization delivers care to more than 600,000 residents in 17 counties and employs approximately 7,000 health care professionals. ThedaCare has 180 points of care, including seven hospitals. As an organization committed to being a leader in Population Health, team members are dedicated to empowering people to live their unique best lives. ThedaCare also partners with communities to understand needs, finding solutions together, and encouraging health awareness and action. ThedaCare is the first in Wisconsin to be a Mayo Clinic Care Network Member, giving specialists the ability to consult with Mayo Clinic experts on a patient’s care. ThedaCare is a not-for-profit health system with a level II trauma center, comprehensive cancer treatment, stroke and cardiac programs, as well as primary care.
For more information, visit thedacare.org or follow ThedaCare on social media. Members of the media should call Cassandra Wallace, Public and Media Relations Consultant at 920.442.0328 or the ThedaCare Regional Medical Center-Neenah switchboard at 920.729.3100 and ask for the marketing person on call.