On Friday, one of my doctors asked me, during a regular video appointment, “Have you gotten your third shot?” I replied, “No, I didn’t think I was eligible yet.” He told me that the latest CDC recommendation to doctors states:
People with weakened immune systems are more likely to get COVID-19 than people with normal immune systems. And if they get infected, they are more likely to get seriously ill and spread the virus to other people in their homes.
The CDC is pushing the notion that only “immunocompromised” people are eligible for a third shot right now. These include, according to their definition, those who have had transplants, are receiving chemotherapy for cancer, or have HIV. The CDC has stated that in September they will recommend a third jab to anyone over 60 after the eight-month anniversary of their second shot.
But in communication to physicians, and the way state regulations enforce right now, the CDC has said that anyone who feels they have a weakened immune system can attest to that fact on their application for an appointment, and no one will question them. They don’t ask for a physician to write a prescription or attach a letter for those seeking a third vaccine shot immediately.
Barbara Ferrer, Los Angeles County Public Health Director, has said:
“Studies have shown immunocompromised people are more likely to have post-vaccination infection and become severely ill from COVID-19… An additional vaccine dose for some people with weakened immune systems could help prevent serious illness and death.”
Ferrer also encourages people in close contact with immunocompromised people to get vaccinated as soon as possible to protect those at higher risk.
There is also data from Israel saying that hospitalization from COVID-19 is 5-6 times less likely among persons over 60 who have had the third jab. The Israeli regs now encourage all those over 40, plus all health care workers and teachers—regardless of age—to get triple-vaxxed.
Because my health history includes enough medical events for nurses to have called me as a “train wreck” while undergoing treatment in hospitals in the past, I decided to follow my doctor’s recommendation and apply for a third shot.
Although I had received my first two jabs at Los Angeles County Mass-Vaccination sites, I decided to get the third shot at a local CVS pharmacy. I went online on Saturday and found one only seven miles from my home that gave the Pfizer vaccine. I completed the application in about five minutes and had to attest that I had “a weakened immune system.” CVS gave me an appointment Monday.
When I arrived for my third shot, I provided them with my original vaccination card, but I wasn’t asked to provide proof of insurance, a photo ID, or a signed statement. I was vaxxed within 10 minutes. Because I had laminated my vaccine card, CVS gave me an additional card for the third shot.
The pharmacist also recommended that I get a free flu vaccine shot at the same time. I happily accepted his suggestion, getting the flu vaccine shot in my other arm to compare the pain in my two arms. As I’m writing this, 24 hours after receiving both shots, neither shot is painful or causing me any problems although the injection sites are slightly tender.
Israel, the United States, France, Germany, Canada, and several other nations have realized that two shots of vaccine are insufficient for seniors to cope with the Delta variant. They provide the third shot so that very few seniors with preexisting condition will have to be hospitalized for another year.
Those that support third vaxxes point out that our vax centers are throwing away millions of doses that are expiring unused. I asked the pharmacist giving me my shot whether this is true. He said that despite his store defrosting only enough doses each day for their scheduled appointments, they are throwing away 1-4 shots a day due to people not showing up for appointments. He said that when appointments were optional, the waste was even worse.
In the meantime, you should inform your clients—especially seniors who might have severe health conditions—they don’t have to have a doctor’s note to qualify for a third shot right now. This is something that most of them don’t know, and it could save someone’s life.
Another reason for doing this is because the CDC has just issued an advisory urging anyone over 65 or with “increased risk” not to cruise at all. The advisory goes on to urge seniors, if they do cruise, to get tested three days before and after their cruise.
It doesn’t say anything about getting a third shot to mitigate the additional hazard of the Delta variant. It also doesn’t say anything about the advantage of only traveling on ships (such as Norwegian, Oceania, and Regent) where everyone is fully vaxxed. With these provisos, traveling can be as safe as remaining at home; particularly if everyone on the planes and ship is fully vaxxed.
By notifying seniors about the possibility of third shots, you can make a major contribution towards saving your business and the cruise industry that we love.
Vaccine Shortages Will Probably Occur this Fall
Sunday, the federal government granted full authorization for the Pfizer vaccine. This will facilitate thousands of employers mandating vaxxes for their employees, contractors, and in-store customers and clients. The President has requested that ALL employers require everyone be vaxxed.
Within 24 hours, the military has just ordered that all those on active duty receive their first shot in September. New Jersey has ordered all state employees and teachers to get vaxxed. This is only the tip of the spear.
At the same time, school districts are hoping to avoid the debacle in Mississippi: In some of the state’s school districts, after only four days of school, at least 20% of the students have had to be quarantined. Atlanta is facing similar problems.
Since quarantines often causes chaos at home and interferes with parents’ work, many will call on the FDA to permit students under 12 to be vaxxed this fall. Many school districts will make this a requirement for all students and teachers that aren’t medically exempt; these will probably have to be tested at least once a week. If this happens, it may not be at public expense. Private insurance or individual may have to bear the cost.
This may result in adults having to be vaccinated in order to work, dine in restaurants, or visit many stores; and young children having to be vaxxed to attend school. The combination of these factors is almost sure to result in massive pressure on the vaccine supply. This will likely occur just as seniors are seeking third shots.
The best way out of these situations is for travel advisors and travel call centers to deliver two simple messages to clients:
- If you are even thinking of traveling in 2021 or 2022, be sure you’re fully vaxxed and have insurance covering COVID medical expenses, quarantines, and medical evacuations.
- If you’re over 60 or have “increased risks,” become triple-vaxxed as soon as you can. Or, if you believe the Israelis, get a third shot if you’re at least 40, regardless of your health condition. The most recent advice is to wait at least 5-8 months between your second and third shot, depending on whether you believe the Israelis or the CDC.
Dr. Steve Frankel and his wife have cruised on most of the Seabourn, Silversea, Crystal, Azamara, Oceania, Regent, and Windstar ships. He writes a weekly column, Point-to-Point, for Travel Research Online (TRO) that’s read by more than 80,000 travel advisors and industry leaders. Steve is the founder of Cruises & Cameras Travel Services, LLC. He has been recognized as a “2021 Top Travel Specialist” by Conde Nast Traveler magazine and a “Travel Expert Select “by the Signature Travel Network. His specialties are luxury small-ship cruises and COVID-19 safety measures, and has a doctorate in Educational Research with minors in Marketing and Quantitative Business Analysis. He’s also earned a Certificate in Epidemiology from Johns Hopkins University. Previously, he managed qualitative and quantitative research in the private & public sectors. He’s a member of the Los Angeles Press Club, and has written 13 books and hundreds of articles. His email address is email@example.com.