Three Key Facts on COVID-19 Vaccinations at the St. Cloud VA HCS
Fact 1: St. Cloud VA is not offering COVID-19 booster shots at this time
Definition of Booster dose – a vaccine dose provided after a 2-dose series is completed to attempt to address the waning immunity from the original series. The only current booster dose authorized by FDA or CDC is for the Pfizer vaccine. Boosters for Moderna or Janssen (Johnson and Johnson) have not been approved.
On September 24, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) identified and recommended several groups of people for a Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine booster. Due to storage requirements, St. Cloud VA HCS does not stock Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine; therefore, we cannot offer the booster at this time.
The CDC and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends booster shots be of the same type and manufacturer as the initial vaccine series. This means that individuals who received a Moderna or Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) COVID-19 vaccine, which are the two vaccines offered at the St. Cloud VA, should wait and receive a booster shot of the same vaccine received in the initial vaccine series.
The FDA and CDC have not yet recommended booster doses for recipients of the Moderna and Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) COVID-19 vaccines. St. Cloud VA will plan to offer these booster doses if they are authorized by the FDA and recommended by the CDC and will inform our Veterans if/when a booster dose of the vaccines we offer are authorized.
Fact 2: St. Cloud VA is offering Third COVID-19 vaccine doses for immune compromised individuals
Definition of Third Dose for Immunocompromised – a vaccine dose provided after a 2-dose series is completed of either Moderna or Pfizer vaccine to an individual that is considered moderately-to-severely immunocompromised. The 3rd dose should be from the same manufacturer, and same dose, and should be at least 28 days after the 2nd dose. The CDC lists clinical conditions that meet the immunocompromised definition. The 3rd-dose is intended to improve the immune response since the standard 2-dose regimen is known to have a reduced effect in these individuals.
The St. Cloud VA HCS continues to offer additional (third) doses of Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to Veterans who have moderate to severe immune compromise.
On August 12, 2021, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized a third dose of COVID-19 vaccine for people with moderate to severe immunocompromise who received the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines. This includes those with organ transplants and those diagnosed with conditions that are considered to have a similar level of immunocompromise.
People with significant immunocompromise are at increased risk of poor outcomes from COVID-19. There is data that suggests an additional COVID-19 vaccine dose enhances antibody responses to the COVID-19 vaccine. There are studies that indicate a reduced antibody response in immunocompromised people after they have been fully vaccinated, compared to healthy vaccine recipients.
St. Cloud VA HCS patients who are immune compromised should consult with their primary care teams for advice and assistance on the recommended additional vaccine dose.
Third doses are recommended to be of the same type, dose, and manufacturer as your initial vaccine series. CDC and FDA recommend a minimum interval of 28 days after receiving the initial vaccine series to receive an additional shot.
Individuals who have received Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines from VHA through the authority of the SAVE LIVES Act and have moderate to severe immune compromise can receive your third dose at VA.
Fact 3: St. Cloud VA continues to offer initial vaccines
The St. Cloud VA is providing the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) COVID-19 vaccines to all Veterans who have not yet been vaccinated.
How to get a COVID-19 vaccination at the St. Cloud VA
- With another appointment: Enrolled Veterans are offered or can request a vaccine for themselves and their spouse or caregiver when scheduling other appointments.
- Vaccine-only appointment: Enrolled Veterans desiring a vaccine-only appointment for themselves or their spouse or caregiver can call 320-252-1670, Ext. 6339.
- Not enrolled Vaccine-only appointment: Veterans not enrolled for VA care, their caregivers and spouses, and CHAMPVA beneficiaries may use the Keep Me Informed tool at https://www.va.gov/health-care/covid-19-vaccine/ or call 320-252-1670, Ext. 6339
We recommend that everyone discusses the risks and benefits of vaccines with your medical provider and encourage everyone who can get a vaccine to do so—it’s important for your health and well-being, and for your family and the community.