Wyoming Dept. of Health Recommends Second Shot for Vulnerable Residents

Wyoming Dept. of Health Recommends Second Shot for Vulnerable Residents

Written by on August 23, 2021

The Wyoming Department of Health joins a growing number of healthcare organizations advocating vulnerable people get another shot of the COVID-19 vaccine.

On Tuesday, August 17, the Wyoming Department of Health released a statement recommending a third vaccine dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines for a limited group of Wyoming residents. In this case, the dose is only suggested for residents with certain medical conditions.

This endorsement comes from the recommendation of state health officer and state epidemiologist Dr. Alexia Harrist. Since the beginning of the pandemic, Dr. Harrist has been a consistent advocate for anything that can protect people from COVID-19.

Dr. Harrist went on the record recently recommending Wyomingites wear masks in crowded indoor spaces, regardless of their vaccination status. Now, she’s giving her professional opinion once again in the interest of public health and personal safety.

“National experts are seeing that people who are moderately to severely immunocompromised are especially vulnerable to COVID-19 because they are more at risk of serious, prolonged illness,” Harrist said. “An additional dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines can help these people make sure they have enough protection against COVID-19.”

Harrist said those who should consider an additional vaccine dose at this time include people who have:

  • Been receiving active cancer treatment for tumors or cancers of the blood
  • Received an organ transplant and are taking medicine to suppress the immune system
  • Received a stem cell transplant within the last two years or are taking medicine to suppress the immune system
  • Moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (such as DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome)
  • Advanced or untreated HIV infection
  • Active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids or other drugs that may suppress immune response

The additional dose for people with compromised immune systems should be administered at least 28 days after the original vaccination series is completed. Residents with questions on whether they should consider the additional dose are encouraged to discuss the recommendation with their regular medical professional.

Added doses have NOT yet been authorized, recommended, or made available for people without compromised immune systems. Furthermore, an additional dose is not recommended for anyone who received the one-dose Johnson and Johnson vaccine.

More important details about the current third-dose recommendation from the CDC can be found at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/recommendations/immuno.html.

“The authorized vaccines each continue to offer solid protection from infection for Wyoming residents, including against the Delta variant,” Harrist said.

An updated WDH review of more than 7,000 lab-confirmed and probable cases identified among Wyoming residents age 18 and older between May 1 and August 10. That same review shows just over 95 percent of the individuals did not report being fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

During the same period, of the nearly 350 persons infected by COVID-19 who were hospitalized at the time they were interviewed by public health representatives, just under 95 percent did not report being fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Harrist continues to encourage residents to seek out free, safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines, which remain readily available across Wyoming. “As always, we will continue sharing information about future vaccine-related recommendations,” she said.

Convenient ways to find where to get COVID-19 vaccines include:

  • Visit Vaccines.gov or vacunas.gov online to search and find vaccine sites.
  • Text your ZIP code to 438829 (GETVAX) or 822862 (VACUNA) to find up to three nearby locations that have vaccines available.
  • Call the National COVID-19 Vaccination Assistance Hotline at 1-800-232-0233 for phone-based help.

Just a reminder: a person is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after two doses of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or two weeks after one dose of the Johnson and Johnson (Janssen) vaccine.

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