Do you know the difference between COVID booster vs third dose shots?

DAYTON — Now that the FDA has approved third doses and booster shots of the Pfizer vaccine for COVID-19, a local doctor explains what the difference is between the two and who can get which dose.

With the majority of the country fully vaccinated, some groups of people are looking for extra protection. But there’s a difference in the booster shots vs. the third dose of the vaccine.

Third doses are for people with severe underlying health conditions such as transplant patients, said Dr. Thomas Huth with Reid Health.

“Twenty-eight days later, they’re eligible for a third dose and that’s know to provoke a more robust response,” Huth said. “They’re known to have a poor response to the MRNA vaccine — probably 50 percent of them have a response at all — but a third dose will give half of those non responders and turn them into responders.”

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The booster shot is a little different. Anyone who is immunocompromised or is on immunosuppressants are eligible.

“That’s based on the face that immunity wanes over time in virtually everyone, but the elderly with health conditions – they may wane their antibody levels sooner,” he said.

The difference between the booster and the third dose is only who can get them and when they’re given. What’s injected into your arm is exactly the same.

However, for those who received Moderna, the booster shot has not been approved by the FDA yet.

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“And the expectation is that will be a lower dose, which will be half the normal dose. That’s because Moderna is higher dose to begin with, about twice the amount of Pfizer,” Huth said.

The FDA is scheduled to have two meetings this week – one meeting is on boosters for both Moderna and Johnson and Johnson. The second meeting will be used to look at getting shots from different manufacturers.

The meetings are scheduled to place on Thursday and Friday.