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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Many fully vaccinated people are seeking clarity as to whether they will need COVID-19 booster shots as more dangerous and contagious variants emerge such as the Delta strain.     

Now that the Delta variant of the coronavirus is the most common strain responsible for infections and vaccination rates remain low in Tennessee, Arkansas and Mississippi, there’s a new debate about whether a third shot or a booster shot of the vaccines will be needed.

“We will probably not need booster doses. However, I think there are some individuals who made need a third dose,” said Dr. Nick Hysmith, the medical director of Infection Prevention at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital in Memphis.

Hysmith says COVID-19 booster doses may only become a reality for patients with certain conditions.

Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson are trying to stay ahead of the highly contagious variants. But some experts are pushing back, saying the data isn’t there yet for a third shot for most vaccinated people.

“Those that are immunocompromised, those that are taking medications, steroids and being treated for certain medical conditions, it’s possible those individuals may need a third dose,” Hysmith said.

Many also wonder if a COVID-19 antibody test is needed if the vaccines are less effective because of treatments for cancer therapy or organ transplant medications. Dr. Hysmith doesn’t recommend them for the mass public.

Hysmith still recommends that everyone get vaccinated. He said to consult your doctor about whether a third shot might be needed.