Governor Dan McKee and Rhode Island Department of Health Director Nicole Alexander-Scott, M.D., M.P.H. issued the following joint statement on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announcements regarding a third dose of COVID-19 vaccine for immunocompromised individuals:

“The announcements from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) about third doses of the COVID-19 vaccine for certain immunocompromised people are great news. The COVID-19 vaccine already provides excellent protection against COVID-19-associated hospitalizations and fatalities, and this additional dose will give even more immunity to people who may be a little more vulnerable.

We are reviewing these new recommendations from our federal partners now, and are aiming to make third doses available for eligible populations in Rhode Island by early next week. More information will be made available to healthcare providers and the public in the coming days, including information on who is eligible. Ample vaccine supply exists in Rhode Island to meet this new demand and we have the infrastructure in place to move swiftly. For any eligible Rhode Islanders who have not yet gotten their first vaccine – it is time.”

Update – RIDOH provided the following update on Friday evening;

Third Doses of COVID-19 Vaccine Available for Some Immunocompromised Rhode Islanders Beginning Saturday

Governor Dan McKee and the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) are announcing that certain immunocompromised Rhode Islanders can begin receiving third doses of COVID-19 vaccine tomorrow, August 14th.

Rhode Islanders who are moderately to severely immunocompromised are eligible for third doses. People are considered moderately to severely immunocompromised if they are/have:

  • 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 (i.e., ≥20mg prednisone or equivalent per day), 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. 

This definition of moderate to severe immunosuppression is in alignment with the definition developed by federal health officials.

Beginning tomorrow, people can get third doses at the Sockanosset Crossroads vaccination site and at hospital vaccination sites. To schedule an appointment for Sockanosset Crossroads, visit www.vaccinateri.org or call 844-930-1779. RIDOH expects third doses to be available at retail pharmacies in the coming days.

Rhode Island will use a self-attestation model for people who are moderately to severely immunocompromised. People will not be required to provide documentation of their health status. People can get third doses at all venues where first and second doses are available.

Third doses will be available to moderately to severely immunocompromised Rhode Islanders who received two doses of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. (This announcement does not pertain to people who received Johnson & Johnson vaccine.) Whenever possible, people who received two doses of Pfizer vaccine will receive a third dose of Pfizer vaccine, and people who received two doses of Moderna vaccine will receive a third dose of Moderna vaccine. However, interchangeability of the two vaccines is acceptable. People should wait at least 28 days between their second and third doses.

There are approximately 35,000 people in Rhode Island who are considered moderately to severely immunocompromised. Ample vaccine supply exists in Rhode Island to meet this new demand.

On Thursday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized third doses of vaccine for people with moderate to severe immunosuppression. Earlier today, the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) met and voted to support the FDA’s action. Federal health officials were acting on studies demonstrating that immunosuppressed people are more likely to get severely ill from COVID-19, are at higher risk for prolonged infection, are more likely to transmit the virus, and experience lower vaccine effectiveness.

More information about how and where to get vaccinated is available online at C19vaccineri.org, or by call 401-222-8022.

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Ryan Belmore is the Owner & Publisher of What's Up Newp, LLC. Belmore has led What's Up Newp since December 2012. Belmore also serves as the Sr. Editor - North America for Mountain News - publisher of OnTheSnow. In his spare time, Belmore serves as the Vice President for the Board of Directors at Fort Adams Trust and serves on the Board of Directors at Lucy's Hearth. Belmore is also a member and supporter of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers. Send questions, tips, and story ideas to Ryan@whatsupnewp.com.