Third doses of COVID-19 vaccine in the works around southwest Virginia


ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) – Americans could soon be lining up for a third coronavirus vaccine shot. This comes as the delta variant of the virus continues to cause case numbers to surge.

On Tuesday, Aug. 17, the director of the Roanoke City and Alleghany Health Districts, Dr. Cynthia Morrow, provided updated numbers.

Dr. Morrow reported a total of 26,058 positive cases within the two health districts: 16,785 in the Alleghany Health District and 9,273 in the Roanoke City Health District.

This is a weekly increase of 484 cases. Her weekly report also showed an increase of 31 hospitalizations for a total of 46 (27 in the Alleghany Health District and 19 in the Roanoke Health District) and a total of 511 deaths (308 in the Alleghany Health District and 203 in the Roanoke City Health District).

“There’s only one way out of this pandemic and that is for people to get vaccinated,” said Dr. Morrow.

LewisGale Medical Center tells WFXR News about its facility’s intensive care unit.

We are currently operating at approximately 70 percent ICU capacity, which is not unusual for our facility. We continue to have the capacity to care for all patients, including those who need to be hospitalized for COVID. We are watching COVID trends closely and will evolve our emergency preparedness and surge plans to meet the needs of our community.

Christopher Finley, Market Dir., Marketing and Public Relations, LewisGale Regional Health System,

Carilion Clinic is also reporting it has no beds available within its intensive care unit.

As the region’s Level 1 trauma center and tertiary/quaternary care center, it’s not unusual for Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital to be busy. Even pre-pandemic, our ICUs typically operated around 95 percent capacity. This is common across major health care centers across the country.

Carilion Clinic

Just last week, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved an additional dose of the COVID-19 vaccine for certain immunocompromised individuals. The agency says other fully vaccinated individuals do not need an additional vaccine dose right now.

The White House Coronavirus Response Team is scheduled to meet Wednesday, Aug. 18 to discuss the possibility of booster shots. The Biden Administration is expected to recommend booster doses for most vaccinated people eight months after their second shot.

The Virginia Department of Health is monitoring the discussions at the federal level and the possibility of booster doses.

If booster vaccine doses are recommended for the general population, the rollout of those boosters will likely take place over several months, as the expected recommendation is that a booster dose should be given within a defined time frame after your second dose. VDH and local health departments now have experience in planning and carrying out the logistics of a large-scale vaccination effort, and rebooting that for booster doses will not be an issue. The infrastructure for administering the booster doses is already in place

Dr. Danny Avula, State Vaccine Coordinator

The Central Shenandoah Health District (CSHD) released new information regarding the third dose. The health district says it will begin to offer a third dose of booster shots to immunocompromised individuals effective immediately. This is in accordance with FDA and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance.

“Vaccination remains the most effective way to prevent the spread of COVID-19. We are looking forward to providing additional doses to those who are immunocompromised at our clinics throughout the district, and continuing to provide opportunities for those who remain unvaccinated to get their shot.”

Dr. Laura Kornegay, Director of the Central Shenandoah Health District

The healthcare system also says to speak with your doctor to see if you qualify for the third booster shot. The CSHD also states that third doses should be from the same manufacturer as your first two doses, but this is not required if that vaccine manufacturer is not available. 

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