GROSSE POINTE WOODS, Mich. (WXYZ) — "First of all, I am a 71-year-old guy. In fact, today is my 71st birthday,” said Steve Hamilton as he introduced himself for an interview.
Hamilton, from Grosse Pointe Woods, has a lot to celebrate. He is a cancer survivor.
“The blood cancer is multiple myeloma. And it was diagnosed in 2019 because it ate away part of my hip. I needed a hip transplant. I underwent three months of chemo, which was horrible,” said Hamilton.
In the midst of a pandemic, he had to get a stem cell transplant that wiped out his immune system. As a result, as soon as the vaccine became available he got two Pfizer Shots.
However, a Henry Ford Health System study tracking the effectiveness of the vaccine in the immune-compromised found he had no antibodies. Then he got the third booster shot when it became available for immune-compromised people.
“Two weeks later I got that same antibody shot and they say I now have antibodies,” said Hamilton, smiling.
He, as a result of his personal experience, is a proponent of booster shots.
Now the FDA is expanding who is eligible for booster shots to people over 65, younger adults at high risk of severe COVID-19 or who work in environments where they are at high risk of exposure, such health care workers, teachers, and daycare staff, grocery workers and those in homeless shelters or prisons.
“It is certainly clear with time after six or eight months your antibody levels are decreasing. And what they found is with this third dose you can get your antibody levels back up to where they were and give you that high-level protection,” said Dr. Jeffrey Fischgrund, Chief of Clinical Services at Beaumont Health.
Dr. Fischgrund says it is about protecting not just yourself, but others.
“It's common sense here. The risk of the vaccine is low. The benefit is very high. And if you are around someone who is immunocompromised it is best that you don’t get COVID yourself. And the best way to prevent this is masks, social distancing, and if you are eligible, get a booster,” said Dr. Fischgrund.
Local health departments are preparing for booster shot clinics in the coming days and weeks. Pharmacies in the area are already giving booster shots to those eligible.
Additional Coronavirus information and resources:
View a global coronavirus tracker with data from Johns Hopkins University.
See complete coverage on our Coronavirus Continuing Coverage page.
Visit our The Rebound Detroit, a place where we are working to help people impacted financially from the coronavirus. We have all the information on everything available to help you through this crisis and how to access it.