A Third Dose Of Covid Vaccine May Help Protect Transplant Pa
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A small study offers the first hint that an extra dose of COVID-19 vaccines just might give some organ transplant recipients a needed boost in protection. The study tracked just 30 transplant patients but it's an important step toward learning if booster doses could help.

Of the 24 patients who appeared to have no protection after the routine two vaccinations, eight of them developed some virus-fighting antibodies after an extra shot, researchers from Johns Hopkins University reported in Annals of Internal Medicine. And six others who'd had only minimal antibodies all got a big boost from the third dose. For transplant patients, powerful immune-suppressing drugs prevent rejection of their new organs but also leave them extremely vulnerable to the coronavirus.

They were excluded from initial testing of the COVID-19 vaccines, but doctors urge that they get vaccinated in hopes of at least some protection. Some do benefit. The Hopkins team recently tested more than 650 transplant recipients and found about 54% harboured virus-fighting antibodies after two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines — although generally less than in otherwise healthy vaccinated people.

Doctors sometimes give extra doses of other vaccines, such as the hepatitis B shot, to people with weak immune systems. And guidelines issued in France recommend a third COVID-19 shot for certain severely immune-suppressed people, including transplant recipients. Further research is needed to tell if a third dose really helps, who's the best candidate and if there are brand differences.

Researcher cautions boosters aren't the only possibility. In addition to antibodies, vaccinations normally spur other protections such as T cells that can fend off severe illness. He and several other research groups are testing whether immune-compromised patients get that benefit.

Source:
https://www.acpjournals.org/doi/10.7326/L21-0282
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