By Matt de Simone
As of September 1, COVID-19 cases shot up for the sixth straight week in the Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Health District (RVAHD).
From August 25-31, the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) reported 715 new COVID cases. For the last month, COVID cases in the district have registered and average of 97 new cases per week since July 27. The weekly average between May and June was 80 new cases a week.
As recently reported by the VDH, a third dose of mRNA vaccine—Pfizer or Moderna—has now been approved for those individuals who are moderately and severely immunocompromised. (Technically, these vaccines are not “boosters” because individuals who are moderately or severely compromised may not be able to develop a good response to the first two doses.)
- Third doses are intended to further build additional protection from COVID for people with immune system complications. Only individuals who currently meet any of the following criteria should consider a third dose:
- Those 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 your immune response
Only about 3 percent of the U.S. population is believed to have a condition that might require a third dose. VDH suggests talking to a healthcare provider about medical conditions, and whether getting an additional dose is appropriate. They implore citizens to wait at least 28 days after receiving the second mRNA vaccine dose before receiving the third dose.
Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna are the only mRNA vaccines on the U.S. market; the FDA has not recommended additional doses of the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccine.
For further information about the recent spike in numbers, visit vdh.virginia.org.