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Some Immunocompromised Patients Are Already Getting Third Doses Of COVID-19 Vaccine

CHICAGO (CBS) -- With the Delta variant spread, there is renewed talk of a future booster shot to fight COVID-19.

This week, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said a booster likely will be needed - especially for people whose immune systems are compromised.

But CBS 2's Marie Saavedra found that some of those patients are already getting third doses of vaccine now.

If you search on social media, you'll find posts from people who say they've had more than just their first dose of vaccine. That has some wondering if they should look into a booster.

But it's important to note that in a lot of these cases, it's not technically a booster. It's more like trying, for a second time, to get those patients protected.

"As someone who's immune-suppressed, I had to be very careful," said David Baron.

David Baron, a pilot, said the risk of COVID kept him grounded since the start of the pandemic.

"I actually haven't worked since March of 2020," he said. "I've been on leave because it was just too risky."

Baron lives with an autoimmune disorder of the skin - so to stay healthy, he got two shots of Moderna as soon as he could. To no avail.

"Not at all," he said. "I had no detectible antibody response."

He says his medications kept the vaccine from taking, so his doctor at a well-known Chicago hospital suggested getting another dose.

"The option was given to me by my treating physician," Baron said. "It was my decision. He did not push on me. He just kind of laid the information out."

Baron got a Johnson & Johnson shot in June. Since he had no antibodies after the first round, technically, it's not a booster. It's just another attempt to get him protected.

But discussions about giving extra shots to the immune-suppressed are happening.

"The data that we're accumulating now is really real-time data that started with the vaccines that were available in December," said Dr. John Fung, co-director of the University of Chicago Medicine's Transplant Institute.

Fung said recent studies, including one published Friday in the New England Journal of Medicine, show a third dose of vaccine in organ transplant patients "significantly improves" their ability to fight COVID.

But it is still early, and boosters in those who did have some antibodies, but want more, is not yet approved by the Food and Drug Administration or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"Let them figure out whether or not the third dose makes sense or not," Fung said.

For Baron, his third dose acted like a first. And he is grateful finally to put up a fight against the virus.

"I can see family and friends, I can go out to restaurants with my wife, I can return to work and get my career back on track," he said, "and it's my gateway to returning to normal."

If you are someone who is immunocompromised and not sure if your first round of vaccine took, you can talk to your doctor about getting an antibody test.
From there, they can determine whether another shot of vaccine is worth it, or not.

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