Doctors urge immunocompromised to get COVID vaccine when it becomes available

Posted at 6:36 PM, Jan 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-29 19:36:25-05

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 61 million Americans live with some form of disability including those that are immunocompromised.

Many of these people are at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19, but vaccine research within these groups are limited.

This is why Omaha resident, Jordan Palmer double checked with her team of doctors to make sure the vaccine was right for her.

Palmer was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 2017. She tried a variety of different procedures, and eventually underwent a stem cell transplant in December of 2019. The procedure significantly helped control her symptoms, but she is still immunocompromised.

“The tricky thing about Multiple Sclerosis is that people don't understand that you might be disabled one day, but then the next day you could get up and walk, talk and look normal,” Palmer said. “It's a very invisible condition."

Just as Palmer was healing from her stem cell transplant, the world broke out in a different invisible disease: COVID-19. The deadly virus has forced everyone, especially those who are immune-compromised, to think twice about their health. It’s even raised questions about the vaccine and whether it would impact them differently.

University of Nebraska Medical Center infectious disease doctor, James Lawler said there is limited data on how the COVID-19 vaccine impacts those who have underlying health conditions. Yet, he has not found many circumstances where he would recommend against the shot.

“For most of these folks that have underlying health conditions, they are more prone to more serious disease with COVID-19,” Lawler said.

Lawler said he has seen no evidence that the vaccine is dangerous for immunocompromised individuals.

As for Palmer, she also had conversations with doctors and is planning on getting the vaccine as soon as possible. She said she is relying on it to feel safe cutting hair and seeing her friends, some of whom she hasn’t seen since before the pandemic when she received her stem cell transplant.

“I just need science to prevail in this situation because it's saved my life once and I know it will again,” Palmer said. “We just need to vaccinate, please…so that it's over.”

Coronavirus Resources and Information

Johns Hopkins global coronavirus tracker