The Middletown Press (Middletown, CT)
Doc: 10K in state have had 3rd shot
Immunocompromised make up large portion of breakthroughs
Since the Food and Drug Administration authorized a third shot of the COVID-19 vaccine for immunocompromised adults on Aug. 13, more than 1 million people in the U.S. have received an additional dose, including about 10,000 individuals in Connecticut.
The extra shots are recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for people with moderate to severely compromised immune systems, including cancer patients
and organ transplant recipients, to bolster their protection against the highly virulent Delta variant. An estimated 100,000 people in Connecticut are eligible.
At Yale-New Haven Hospital, demand has been slow so far. Dr. Tom Balcezak, chief medical officer, said the hospital has administered about 350 third doses. The majority of the extra doses — more than 7,800 of the 10,000 total — have been given out by pharmacies, he said.
“The first two doses might not have delivered enough immunity to them,” Balcezak said.
Early studies show immunocompromised people who are fully vaccinated make up a large portion of hospitalized breakthrough cases, which some doctors in Connecticut have observed.
Balcezak said he’s heard from doctors that breakthrough hospitalizations are impacting people wth weakened immune systems, such as a patient admitted recently who has multiple sclerosis, but Yale isn’t tracking this data so there’s no firm numbers.
“It’s numerator data,” he said. “It’s hard to make any conclusions from those anecdotes.”
Balcezak emphasized this data point instead: about 75 percent of patients hospitalized for Covid this past week at Yale were not immunized.
Howard Forman, a professor of radiology and biomedical imaging at Yale School of Public Health, said the vaccinated patients with significant symptoms he’s come across while working as a radiologist in the emergency room had underlying health issues.
“A good number of positive breakthrough cases are not that surprising,” Forman said in a recent interview.