Although the CDC determines when additional doses of the Covid vaccine are required, many individuals believe they are not recommending the proper amount of doses in time to protect those who are most vulnerable—the immunocompromised.
Some immunocompromised individuals have attempted to take protection against the virus into their own hands by finding ways to get fourth, and even fifth, doses of the vaccine. Stacey Ricks, a kidney transplant recipient, is one of those people. She believes that the first doses of the vaccine did not help her to develop antibodies to fight the virus. Without disclosing that she already had two doses of the vaccine, she received a third dose before it was approved for the public by the CDC. Once it became noted on her record that she had already received the vaccine, she used a doctor’s note to get two more doses. She is just one of the many immunocompromised people who have gone around government guidelines to protect themselves from Covid-19.
Some countries, such as Israel, have already begun trials for fourth vaccines and are giving them to those most vulnerable, including those sixty and older, medical workers, and immunocompromised individuals, four months after they received their third dose. Similarly, Germany has announced that a fourth dose will be necessary for protection against the virus, though they have not begun rolling them out. In comparison, the CDC has been much slower to announce the need for additional doses; Dr. Anthony Fauci of the CDC has said it is too early to begin thinking of a fourth dose for the general public, but he has commented there is a possibility of a fourth dose for those that are immunocompromised.
However, with the rise of the highly contagious Omicron variant, those with weak immune systems are growing increasingly worried about their health, resulting in attempts of receiving additional, unapproved doses of the vaccine without information of their effectiveness or safety.
Typically, fully approved vaccines can be administered under a doctor’s discretion as they see fit. However, with the Covid vaccine, doctors are required to sign a legal agreement not to break their guidelines. That being said, it is evident that the CDC has done little to enforce this law, and those getting additional doses are not technically doing anything illegal, although it is dangerous.
The additional doses have been effective for some, such as Stacey Ricks, who, after her fifth shot, was informed that she developed moderate antibodies, though not as many as a normal vaccine recipient. Additionally, with the surplus of vaccines, supporters of additional doses say that they will go to waste otherwise, so they should be used to their full potential.