The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved that people with weakened immune systems get a third dose of the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines. This booster shot is not for the generality of Americans who had been fully vaccinated but only for people with compromised immunity. This category of people lacks the immune response that should have attended their initial vaccination, and they are at increased risks for disease infections.

“The country has entered yet another wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the FDA is especially cognizant that immunocompromised people are particularly at risk for severe disease,” acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock stated. “After a thorough review of the available data, the FDA determined that this small, vulnerable group may benefit from a third dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna Vaccines.”

The federal health agency made it clear that while a third booster shot cannot be ruled out for the entire nation, Woodcock said a third vaccination may be considered in the future. She said the FDA continues to monitor science-based data to see how the people are responding to the vaccines, and that people who are fully vaccinated are fully protected for the foreseeable future. She noted that immunocompromised people targeted for third shots are only a tiny fraction of the entire American public.

The chief medical adviser to the White House, Dr. Anthony Fauci, said about 3% of the entire population qualifies for the third shot at this time.

A recent government study found that people with weakened immunity make up 44% of hospitalized breakthrough cases – but an Israeli study found it to be 40%. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people with compromised immunity could have their antibodies climb by 50% after getting a third booster shot of COVID-19 vaccines.

A member of the CDC expert advisory panel, Dr. Pablo Sanchez, said the panel will vote on Friday to determine who exactly should get the booster shots. After its Friday vote, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky will sign off on the panel’s recommendations. The CDC will also make the call when the time comes for the entire country to get a third booster shot for increased protection. Fauci said this will be decided when the immunity of the people falls below the recommended critical level.

“If and when it does – and it’s likely that it will because no vaccine is going to last forever – we’re going to be ready and have a plan to be able to give those individuals the additional dose that they might need,” Fauci said.

According to government statistics, the total number of reported COVID-19 cases in the United States is 36,268,057 and the reported number of COVID deaths is 617,096. The number of current hospitalizations stands at 73,253 and the number of fully vaccinated people stands at 167,354,729.