Medical experts discuss risks of people self-prescribing COVID-19 booster shots

Extra dose of the vaccine?
Extra dose of the vaccine?

HOUSTON – As the Delta variant continues to spread some people are nervous, hoping a third shot or booster shot will give them more immunity and they are getting it deceptively.

“I would say I have heard anecdotes of it,” said Dr. Prathit Kulkarni, assistant professor of medicine-infectious diseases at Baylor College of Medicine. “It’s hard to know how one individual might react that’s why we suggest at the current time sticking with the recommended approach.”

A booster is typically another dose of the same vaccine one had before. The Food and Drug Administration has not approved COVID-19 booster shots.

“There is a theoretical possibility of sort of maybe more significant side effects or something like that with a third dose because as we know people tend to have more side effects with the second dose than the first dose,” Dr. Kulkarni said.

According to the Associated Press, the CDC started tracking unauthorized booster shots. So far, the count is at 900, but that number may not be accurate. There could be more.

“People who are fully vaccinated with any of the FDA-authorized vaccines are protected from severe disease and death, including from the variants currently circulating in the country such as Delta,” a spokesperson with the CDC told KPRC 2.

Many places that administer vaccines have protocols in place to prevent triple dosing, but it also requires honesty.

Harris County Public Health says it has a statewide database to track first and second doses, but a spokesperson said they are working to strengthen the documentation process.

A spokesperson for Walgreens told KPRC 2 the first question they ask when someone arrives to get a vaccine is if this is the first vaccine they have received.

“We have alerts in place throughout Walgreens systems in addition to alerts from health plans if a patient has previously received a COVID-19 full-series vaccination,” said a Walgreens spokesperson.

CVS also has protocols in place.

“Patients who have been fully vaccinated at a CVS Pharmacy, or who inform us that they were fully vaccinated by another provider, will not receive another vaccine,” said the CVS spokesperson.

Dr. Kulkarni also warned against vaccinating underage children. The FDA has only given approval for children 12 and older to receive the vaccine.

“There are a lot of things that go into vaccine metabolism, how our body is going to react, some of it is related to height and weight, but others may be related to the development of the immune system,” Dr. Kulkarni said.

Kulkarni sais boosters could be approved in several weeks after the appropriate research has been done. Those that are over 60 or immunocompromised will likely be the first to receive them.

“I am watching it very closely myself and if that guidance changes, then certainly I’ll adjust the message as necessary,” he said.


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