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Healthbeat: Third round of COVID-19 vaccinations begin in Scranton

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SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — We learned Wednesday that a booster dose of COVID vaccine should be available late next month to healthy, fully vaccinated people.

But some people are already getting a third dose of the vaccine. Last Friday, the FDA authorized an additional dose for patients with weakened immune systems. Eyewitness News met with a Lackawanna County couple who qualifies for that third shot and were eager to get it.

Maureen Moylan had no problem rolling up her sleeve for a third COVID-19 vaccine shot. As a cancer survivor on medication, she qualifies for the additional dose.

“So, you do everything you can,” Moylan said. “I’m game. I’m ready.”

Moylan and her husband, Peter, both got their additional vaccine shot at The Clinics at Scranton Primary Health Care Center.

“You know, we both have our health issues and we need to work a little hard to protect ourselves from those issues,” Peter Moylan said.

The center is among facilities authorized to administer the third Moderna or Pfizer dose to patients with weakened immune systems. Those who qualify include, but are not limited to, patients receiving active cancer treatment, organ transplant patients on immunosuppressants, and people with advanced or untreated HIV.

“I think it’s absolutely important that they get it. Especially people who are going through cancer treatments and treatments like that. The first two doses may not have been as effective as they would have been in people like you and I,” Scranton Primary Health Care Center CEO Joe Hollander said.

The extra dose is extra important to the Moylans, who are concerned their daily medications may reduce vaccine efficacy.

“You know, I’ve got to be very careful what I take. I’ve got to go over it with the doctor all the time because you never know what the interaction is going to be,” Peter Moylan explained.

Third doses for the immunocompromised can be given 28 days or later after the patient received a second shot. Hollander says the overwhelming majority of people in recent days seeking the vaccine are those eligible for the third dose and not their first.

“I wish we were overrun by people still wanting the first dose. There’s still a significant number of people in the community who need to be vaccinated,” says Hollander. “We have plenty supply.”

Hollander says The Clinics at Scranton Primary Health Care Center will be ready to administer COVID vaccine booster shots to healthy, fully immunized people.

Federal health officials say that could happen, starting the week of September 20th.

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