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VERIFY: Is it safe to get a third COVID-19 vaccine before it's FDA approved?

Our legal and medical expert weigh in.

ATLANTA — Researchers are studying to see if booster shots are necessary, as COVID-19 cases go up in Georgia and across the country.

Meanwhile, some people are reportedly trying to get a third dose before it's approved by the Food and Drug Administration. 

Our 11Alive Verify team asked the experts. 

THE QUESTION

Is it medically safe and legal to get your third COVID-19 vaccine before its approved by the FDA? 

THE ANSWER 

This answer comes in two parts.

Is it medically safe? We don't have enough data to know if a third shot is recommended.  

Is it legal? Yes, but only if you get your third dose in a way that does not break other laws. 

WHAT WE KNOW

11Alive Medical Expert Dr. Sujatha Reddy said more research needs to be done to know how a third booster shot will impact us.

"We still don't know if that is necessary and what side effects there could be," Reddy said.

Israel just started testing booster shots with those over 60 years old. These were some of the first people to get the COVID-19 vaccine back in January. 

Reddy said studies show the vaccine's effectiveness may decrease over time, but the best thing to do to stay safe right now, she said, is to mask up in crowded situations and get both doses of your vaccine.

As for the legalities of getting a third shot, 11Alive legal expert Page Pate said it is legal for you to get it so long as you do so without committing any crimes.

Pate said if you are open and honest with your medical provider about wanting a booster shot, there is no crime there.

However, if you lie about your vaccine status to the health department or make any changes to your vaccination card, that could get you in legal trouble.

Pate said it is legal for medical providers to recommend you get a third dose of the shot before it is approved by the FDA. Yet, the verdict is still out about the necessity of an extra shot, even if it is not against the law.