Hattiesburg Clinic, Forrest General Hospital offering third COVID booster shots

Published: Sep. 28, 2021 at 5:50 PM CDT
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PINE BELT, Miss. (WDAM) - Booster shots are now available at health departments and clinics across the Pine Belt. Hattiesburg Clinic and Forrest General Hospital Dr. Rambod Rouhbakhsh, M.D. explains who should get the booster and why.

The list includes adults with pre-existing conditions, adults who work or live in a high exposure setting, adults who are immunocompromised and people 65 years and older.

To see if you might qualify for a third shot you can read more from MSDH here or talk to your doctor.

“The groups that have been defined, are the ones that are likely to have a poor immune response to the first two shots. To put it simply, we know that it would be a benefit to those people,” says Rouhbakhsh.

Rouhbakhsh says a third dose is exactly the ‘boost’ that high-risk people need to stay protected against the changing virus.

“Well, essentially, it gives you more antibodies and even if the variants have a little bit of a different spike protein, if you have enough antibodies around, the chances are good that you’re going to recognize. Not to mention that we have a level of what’s called innate immunity with t cells that we can’t really measure in blood very well, and those sorts of immune responses tend to be boosted,” Rouhbakhsh explains.

Rouhbakhsh says a third dose doesn’t mean the first two shots aren’t working.

“When your children get vaccinated, we have a series of vaccines, they need to get in order to be fully immunized and this is the same concept. Immunity wanes over time. And we know that the immune responses, even at microdoses tend to act more robustly,” he says.

Rouhbakhsh explains that research is still being done to determine the best protection against covid.

“It may mean that after three we’re good, or it may mean that we need a yearly, or maybe a year from now, two years from now and have a series of five like many other vaccines,” he says.

Currently, there is not a booster shot for the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccines. As of Monday morning, more than 45,000 Mississippians have received a third booster of the Pfizer vaccine.

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