Gavin Hunt, 13, receives his second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine at the walk-in clinic at the intersection of the Kenai Spur and Sterling Highways in Soldotna, Alaska, on Wednesday, June 9, 2021. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion file)

Gavin Hunt, 13, receives his second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine at the walk-in clinic at the intersection of the Kenai Spur and Sterling Highways in Soldotna, Alaska, on Wednesday, June 9, 2021. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion file)

State to offer 3rd dose for immunocompromised, boosters likely to follow

Safeway issued a press release on Thursday stating that additional doses are available at its pharmacies.

Immunocompromised people are now encouraged to get a third COVID-19 vaccine dose, and booster shots for the general public may soon follow, according to state health officials.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a recommendation Thursday, stating that people with moderately and severely compromised immune system conditions may receive extra protection against COVID-19 with additional PfizerBioNTech and Moderna mRNA shots.

In a press briefing Thursday with the state Department of Health and Social Services, Chief Medical Officer Dr. Anne Zink said extra doses are becoming available in Alaska.

“The vaccine series is essentially a three-dose series now, because we saw data that you had higher antibody loads when you have a three-dose series,” she said Thursday.

For those who still haven’t taken their first jab, Zink encouraged them to do so.

“If immunocompromised people have not gotten vaccinated, we would highly recommend they do it now as the delta variant is surging,” she said.

Safeway issued a press release on Thursday stating that additional doses are available at its pharmacies following the new recommendation from the CDC.

As of now, the CDC is not recommending a second Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccine dose for moderately and severely immunocompromised people.

President Joe Biden also announced this week his administration is pushing for COVID booster shot availability by Sept. 20.

The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices is expected to make an announcement soon about booster shots for the general public.

“We are ramping up for that,” Zink said Thursday.

The new guidance comes as more research suggests waning immunity eights months after the second dose of an mRNA vaccine.

According to Reuters, in an Oxford University study out of the United Kingdom the Pfizer and Astrazeneca shots fell from 85% and 68% efficacy rates to 75% and 61%, respectively, 90 days after the second dose.

Dr. Joe McLaughlin, an epidemiologist with the Alaska DHSS, said during the briefing Thursday that while the chances of catching COVID-19 increase slightly over time, research shows they still have efficacy rates in the 90th percentile for preventing hospitalization and more severe illness.

“So the bad news is we’re seeing a decrease in vaccine effectiveness against the SARS-CoV2 infection, but the good news is their maximum effectiveness … is robust against hospitalization,” he said.

The new booster shot recommendation is aimed at preventing COVID-19 contraction for those who have already been vaccinated for the majority of the year, Biden said during his announcement this week.

More in News

A moose is photographed in Kalifornsky, Alaska, in July 2020. (Peninsula Clarion file)
Illegal moose harvest down from past 5 years

The large majority of moose this year were harvested from North and South Kasilof River areas.

Renee Behymer and Katelyn Behymer (right) of Anchorage win this week’s vaccine lottery college scholarship sweepstakes. (Photo provided)
Dillingham and Anchorage residents win 6th vaccine lottery

“Get it done,” one winner said. “Protect us all, protect our elders and our grandchildren.”

Kenai Vice Mayor and council member Bob Molloy (center), council member Jim Glendening (right), council member Victoria Askin (far right), and council member Henry Knackstedt (far left) participate in a work session discussing the overhaul of Kenai election codes on Wednesday, Sept. 1, 2021 in Kenai, Alaska.
Kenai City Council gives sendoffs, certifies election results

Both council members-elect — Deborah Sounart and James Baisden — attended Wednesday.

This illustration provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in January 2020 shows the 2019 Novel Coronavirus. (CDC)
COVID is No. 3 underlying cause of death among Alaskans so far this year

The virus accounted for about 7.5% of all underlying causes of death after a review of death certificates.

Rep. David Eastman, R-Wasilla, speaks on the floor of the Alaska House of Representatives during a floor debate on Tuesday, Aug. 31, 2021, over an appropriations bill during the Legislature’s third special session of the summer. Multiple organizations reported on Wednesday that Eastman is a lifetime member of the far-right organization the Oath Keepers. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)
Data leak shows state rep is member of far-right organization

Wasilla area lawmaker said he joined when Oath Keepers first started.

Christine Hutchison, who lives in Kenai and also serves on the Kenai Harbor Commission, testifies in support of the use of alternative treatments for COVID-19 during a meeting of the Kenai City Council on Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2021 in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
‘Medical liberty’ petition brought to Kenai City Council

Some members of the public and Kenai City Council spoke against health mandates and in support of alternative treatments for COVID-19

Amber Kraxberger-Linson, a member of Trout Unlimited and streamwatch coordinator for the Chugach National Forest, works in the field in this undated photo. Kraxberger-Linson will be discussing at the Saturday, Oct. 23 International Fly Fishing Film Festival the organization’s educational programming for next summer. (Photo provided by Trout Unlimited)
Out on the water — and on the screen

Trout Unlimited to host fly fishing film festival Saturday.

This screen capture from surveillance footage released by the Anchorage Police Department shows a masked man vandalizing the Alaska Jewish Museum in Anchorage in May. (Courtesy photo / APD)
Museums statewide condemn antisemitic vandalism

Two incidents, one in May, one in September, have marred the museum this year.

Three speech language pathologists with the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District were recognized for excellence during the Alaska Speech-Language-Hearing Association last month. (Kenai Peninsula Borough School District)
Peninsula speech language therapists awarded for excellence

“I was very honored to be recognized by my peers and colleagues,” Evans said in an interview with the Clarion.

Most Read