Dermatology Patients Might Need 3 COVID-19 Shots to Achieve Initial Full Immunity

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Some people being treated by dermatologists might be subject to guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to get a third dose of Pfizer or Moderna vaccines to reach full protection against COVID-19.

“These include patients who are being treated for chronic inflammatory diseases, many of which are seen in our dermatology practice,” said Dr. Adam Friedman, professor and chair of dermatology at The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences in D.C.

“These include conditions like psoriasis, Hidradenitis Suppurativa and many others,” he said.

Certain medications taken orally, injected, or intravenously might prevent a person’s body from mounting an appropriate immune response to the COVID-19 vaccines.

“The third shot essentially completes their initial vaccine series. Just like someone who is not immune-compromised got the two, these individuals need the three. This is in essence not a booster — rather this is really to complete the set,” he said.

“At GW, our patients who meet criteria for the third shot are being instructed to go to our vaccine clinic and are having a pretty easy time getting that shot,” Friedman said.

But, Friedman emphasizes that getting a third shot immediately is meant for people for whom it’s appropriate — people whose immune systems are compromised, whether due to a medical condition or a medication.

“And if you’re not sure if you fit into that, certainly reach out to your practitioner to get those answers,” he advised.

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