NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — Physicians and pharmacists from Ochsner Health gathered via Zoom teleconference call on Monday afternoon to discuss new guidance regarding additional COVID-19 vaccine doses.

Participants in the briefing included:

  • Dr. Sandra Kemmerly, System Medical Director of Hospital Quality, Ochsner Health
  • Dr. Katherine Baumgarten, Medical Director of Infection Control and Prevention, Ochsner Health
  • Debbie Simonson, Vice President, Pharmacy Services, Ochsner Healt
  • Matthew Malachowski, Director, Pharmacy, Population Health & Ambulatory Services, Ochsner Health

Over the last few days both the FDA and CDC have authorized additional dose for those individuals who are immunocompromised as they are more vulnerable to COVID-19.

“At the present time, neither the FDA or CDC recommends additional boosters or other doses for other populations,” said Dr. Kemmerly. “So we will continue to monitor that situation, but these are just for severely compromised individuals.”

When asked if there was any danger for a healthy, fully-vaccinated person receiving a third vaccine dose, Dr. Kemmerly responded.

“That is a very good question,” she said. “We don’t have the data to definitively answer that question. The booster studies are being done as we speak for all three preparations in the United States. I believe that is one of the reasons the FDA and CDC are being deliberate and cautious on how they are recommending third shots.

“Again, with these immuno-suppressed patients we know that their immune response is not as good as someone who is healthy with just two, so that is why they are recommending three. So unfortunately, or fortunately, we will have to wait until the science supports giving an additional dose to people who are fully vaccinated and healthy.”

Ochsner will host a follow-up meeting on Thursday regarding an update on the same issues.