Some people ‘gaming the system’ to get 3rd dose of vaccine

Coronavirus

DENVER (KDVR) – U.S. health officials are expected to recommend booster shots for most Americans eight months after their second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.

Aug. 13, the Federal Drug Administration approved boosters for some people who are immunocompromised.

But according to the Colorado Department of Public Heath and Environment, thousands of people have already received a third dose.

As of Aug. 16, the Colorado Immunization Information System recorded 8,935 people who have received a third dose.

That number does not include third doses after a former dose was invalidated, or the number that were entered manually with patient attestation.

If those are included, the number jumps to 24,451.

The state said there are delays in the data getting reported. The number of third doses recorded before Aug. 13 is 7,248, excluding patient records and invalidated doses.

It’s unclear what the circumstances were for any of those cases, but across the country there are reports of people lying to get a third dose of the vaccine.

They could claim they are unvaccinated, or now that they are immunosuppressed.

“There’s many ways to game the system,” said Dr. Thomas Campbell, the chief clinical researcher for UCHealth.

He has some advice for anyone considering that.

“I would say don’t do it. We don’t know if it’s necessary for you. We don’t know what the risks are for you doing that. I’d say be patient and  wait for further guidance from your health  care provider,” Campbell said.

Starting Wednesday patients with weakened immune systems can log onto the UCHealth website and schedule an appointment for a third dose. They will be asked about their medical condition.

Safeway said patients have to self-attest that they fall into that category, and the pharmacy staff will take them at their word.

Campbell said there is no reason to rush a booster if you are not immunocompromised.

“The immunity does wane over time, so if you still have good protection at three months out, it’s not necessary to get the third dose yet,” he said.

The state said there is enough vaccine supply for people who meet the criteria to get a third dose of Pfizer or Moderna vaccines. People in that category should be able to access them immediately at their providers.

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