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Immunocompromised Arkansas woman feeling hope following approval of COVID booster shot

The latest authorization from the FDA and CDC has good news for the thousands of Arkansans with compromised immune systems.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — The latest authorization from the FDA and CDC has good news for the thousands of Arkansans with compromised immune systems.

The booster shot can add protection for those with weakened immune systems.

Tonya Lane is among those with a compromised immune system. 

"I'm really fortunate that I was able to have the vaccine and I really do feel that it kept me out of the hospital," Lane said. 

She said the decision to get the vaccine back in March was an easy one. 

She was diagnosed with a disease that makes her more likely to contract illnesses like pneumonia. 

"I had a surgery done 3 years ago and after I had that surgery, I got what is called 'atelectasis' and so all the pockets inside of my lungs collapsed," Lane said.

After not feeling well in July, she thought she was battling pneumonia. 

Her doctors determined she had COVID-19. 

She's also battling stage two kidney disease and said her case could've been much worse if she wasn't fully vaccinated.

A third booster shot is good news to her: as she said her immune system is compromised. 

"I feel safe in knowing that someone is out there working to make it to where we are going to be safer and we'll be more protected against COVID," Lane said.

Unlike the first doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, the third booster shot is only for some immunocompromised people.

Dr. Jennifer Dillaha with the Arkansas Department of Health said, as of now, there is a list of people who are eligible for the third dose.

"So the idea is to provide them with a third dose of the vaccine that is more likely to stimulate the immunity," Dillaha said. 

She expects it to be available to Arkansans by next week.

"We have to put the proper protocols and the paperwork into place to make sure that people get vaccinated appropriately and that could be very quick," Dillaha said.

Starting Monday, UAMS announced that the hospital will be offering a third dose of the COVID vaccine to moderately and severely immunocompromised people. 

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