An immunocompromised individuals getting their COVID-19 vaccine booster shot.

COVID-19 Vaccine Booster Shots and Immunocompromised Individuals: What to Know

Aug 24 2021

Do you need a booster shot for the COVID-19 vaccine? A booster shot refers to a third dose of an mRNA vaccine that you get at least 28 days after your second dose. This applies to the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines.

Right now, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends booster shots for people who have moderately or severely weakened immune systems. The CDC doesn’t currently recommend booster shots for any other groups of people. However, we expect the FDA and CDC to provide additional guidance regarding booster shots in other populations soon.

What it means to have a weakened immune system?

Certain medical conditions or taking medications to suppress the immune system can result in having a weakened immune system, also known as being immunocompromised.

If you have a weakened immune system, you’re especially vulnerable to COVID-19 and its risks. For example, this group of people is more likely to have a serious illness that lasts a long time.

Who does this group include?

Right now, people who are eligible to receive booster shots include:

  • People taking drugs that may suppress the immune system
  • People with moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency
  • People in active cancer treatment for tumors or blood cancers
  • People who have an advanced or untreated HIV infection
  • People who have received an organ transplant and are taking medicine to suppress the immune system
  • People who have received CAR-T-cell or hematopoietic stem cell transplant within the last two years or are taking medicine to suppress the immune system
  • People in active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids

Is the booster shot a new vaccine?

Not, the booster shots for COVID-19 are not new vaccines. They are the same vaccines (Moderna and Pfizer) that have been authorized. A booster shot is simply a third dose of one of the existing mRNA vaccines.

What About if I got the J&J vaccine?

The FDA’s authorization for additional doses only applies to the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines (Moderna and Pfizer). This means that additional shots do not apply to the J&J vaccine at this time. This is because there is not enough data yet to know if immunocompromised people who received the J&J vaccine would benefit from another dose.

Contact your primary care provider if you’re wondering whether an additional dose of the COVID-19 vaccine is right for you at this time.

Also, remember that getting vaccinated for COVID-19 is the best way you can avoid severe illness and protect those around you. Learn more about our ministry’s COVID-19 vaccine efforts.

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