According to a story from Ebene Magazine, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) officially authorized that immunocompromised people could receive a third booster shot of the COVID-19 vaccine. This authorization applied to the Moderna and Pfizer versions of the vaccine. It’s a welcome development for people with compromised immune systems such as Angela Michelle, who lives with antiphospholipid syndrome, a rare disease.
About Antiphospholipid Syndrome
Antiphospholipid syndrome (APS) is an autoimmune condition in which the presence of antiphospholipid antibodies increases a patient’s risk of dangerous blood clots and complications in pregnant women. The condition can appear on its own (primary) or can occur alongside another disease state (secondary). The main risk factor for primary antiphospholipid syndrome is the HLA-DR7 genetic marker. Risk factors for the secondary form include the genetic markers HLA-B8, HLA-DR3, and HLA-DR2, the presence of other autoimmune disorders such as lupus, and non-white racial ancestry. Symptoms of antiphospholipid syndrome include blood clotting events such as a stroke or deep vein thrombosis, livedo reticularis (skin discoloration), low platelet count, migraine headaches, heart valve disease, oscillating field of vision, and pregnancy complications such as preeclampsia, miscarriage, preterm birth, and stillbirth. Treatment approaches for antiphospholipid syndrome include aspirin, warfarin, plasmapheresis, and low molecular weight heparin. To learn more about antiphospholipid syndrome, click here.
Helping the Immunocompromised
Angela says that the disorder caused her to have a stroke back in 2016. The event caused her to lose vision in her right eye, and she now deals with pulmonary hypertension due to several pulmonary embolisms she suffered during the stroke. The pandemic has also delayed her access to a balloon angioplasty procedure. While she hasn’t yet received explicit instructions from her doctor about getting the booster, Angela is hopeful.
The shot will give her much greater confidence when she travels in a few months for her procedure. Doctors anticipate that a booster would amplify the effectiveness of the vaccine for this population, who reportedly have not received as much protection from the vaccines as people with regular immune system function.
In the coming months, it is becoming increasingly likely that a booster shot will be advised for everyone as the delta variant of COVID-19 runs rampant among those who have refused the vaccine so far. In addition, delta has a greater chance of infecting vaccinated people compared to earlier variants, though cases are generally very mild in people with the vaccine.