Orange County

Immunocompromised start receiving fourth COVID-19 vaccine doses in Central Florida

ORLANDO, Fla. — People whose health makes them most vulnerable to COVID-19 are now getting a fourth vaccine dose.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is recommending additional doses for the immunocompromised, and that option is now rolling out in Central Florida.


Liver transplant recipient Brenda Straub received her fourth shot last Friday at an Orlando Publix. She said she’s determined to be as armed as she can be against COVID-19.

“I mean we’re in a fight that we’ve never been in before. This is uncharted waters,” Straub said.

READ: 2 local cities still show high concentrations of COVID-19 in wastewater

Twelve years after a lifesaving liver transplant, the threat of COVID-19 is a constant concern for the longtime real estate agent.

“I assume after five months with my liver transplant and my immune suppressants I’m probably low on antibodies,” Straub said.

READ: Coronavirus: CDC updates mask recommendations

So the 71-year-old didn’t hesitate to get a fourth dose of the Pfizer vaccine as soon as she heard she could.

The CDC’s latest guidance directs people with a weakened immune system to get an additional primary shot once they complete the initial two Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, and five months after that, a fourth shot, considered as the actual booster, is now recommended.

READ: Coronavirus: Total US COVID-19 cases top 65M; Florida becomes 3rd state to top 5M infections

Hospital data continues to show that the highest proportion of breakthrough cases — and often, intensive care unit stays — are transplant recipients.

Anyone considering this fourth dose is advised to talk to their health care provider to discuss what’s best for them.

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Sarah Wilson

Sarah Wilson,

Sarah Wilson joined WFTV Channel 9 in 2018 as a digital producer after working as an award-winning newspaper reporter for nearly a decade in various communities across Central Florida.