At least four New Jersey pharmacy chains have the newly CDC-approved booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine for those with compromised immune systems.

CDC officials gave their OK for the additional dose of the Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines late Thursday after reviewing data that shows some people with moderately to severely compromised immune systems do not always build the same level of immunity compared to others.

CVS and Walgreens announced the third dose availability on their respective websites on Saturday morning. CVS is administering the doses by an appointment made on its website while Walgreens is offering the shot for walk-in customers only.

Rite Aid told New Jersey101.5 it is also administering the third dose on a walk-in basis and is working on making appointments available online.

Walmart is also offering the booster dose for walk-in patients only.

Who can get the booster shot?

The third dose may be administered at least 28 days after the initial two doses. Customers will need to provide proof of receiving the first two doses.

According to the CDC, those who are eligible include individuals who have:

  • Been receiving active cancer treatment for tumors or cancers of the blood
  • Received an organ transplant and are taking medicine to suppress the immune system
  • Received a stem cell transplant within the last 2 years or are taking medicine to suppress the immune system
  • Moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (such as DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome)
  • Advanced or untreated HIV infection
  • Active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids or other drugs that may suppress your immune response

"At a time when the Delta variant is surging, an additional vaccine dose for some people with weakened immune systems could help prevent serious and possibly life-threatening COVID-19 cases within this population," CDC Director Rochelle P. Walensky said.

More eligible for a booster?

Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, on "Fox News Sunday" said the U.S. could decide in the next few weeks whether to offer coronavirus booster shots to more Americans this fall.

Among the first to receive them could be health care workers, nursing home residents and other older Americans.

No U.S. decision has been made because cases so far still indicate that people remain highly protected.

As of Sunday., 5.4 million individuals who live, work or attend school in New Jersey have been fully vaccinated, according to the Department of Health.

(Includes material copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ

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