COVID-19 Vaccine: Third Dose
Third COVID-19 Vaccine Doses for People who are Moderately or Severely Immunocompromised
On Thursday, Aug. 12th, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) amended the Emergency Use Authorizations (EUAs) for both the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine and Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine to allow a third dose to be administered to people who are moderately or severely immunocompromised following a primary mRNA vaccine series. See the FDA’s Press Release here.
Subsequently, CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommended that people with moderately to severely compromised immune systems receive a third dose of mRNA COVID-19 vaccine at least 4 weeks after their second dose, for a total of three doses. Third doses will be administered a minimum of 28 days after the 2nd shot. CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky endorsed those recommendations. See the full CDC Media Statement here.
Individuals can self-attest and receive the third dose wherever vaccines are offered. This will help ensure there are not additional barriers to access for this vulnerable population receiving a needed third dose.
Who Needs an Additional COVID-19 Vaccine?
Currently, CDC is recommending that moderately to severely immunocompromised people receive an additional dose. This includes people who have:
- Been receiving active cancer treatment for tumors or cancers of the blood
- Received an organ transplant and are taking medicine to suppress the immune system
- Received a stem cell transplant within the last 2 years or are taking medicine to suppress the immune system
- Moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (such as DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome)
- Advanced or untreated HIV infection
- Active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids or other drugs that may suppress your immune response
People should talk to their healthcare provider about their medical condition, and whether getting an additional dose is appropriate for them.
Moderna Third Dose - September
Pfizer Third Dose - September
Moderna Third Dose - October
Pfizer Third Dose - October
While people who are immunocompromised make up about 3% of the U.S. adult population, they are especially vulnerable to COVID-19 because they are more at risk of serious, prolonged illness. Included in CDC’s recommendation are people with a range of conditions, such as recipients of organ or stem cell transplants, people with advanced or untreated HIV infection, active recipients of treatment for cancer, people who are taking some medications that weaken the immune system, and others. A full list of conditions can be found on CDC’s website.
The third dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine should be the same vaccine as the initial series and administered at least four weeks after completing a primary mRNA COVID-19 vaccine series.
While vaccination is likely to increase protection in this population, even after vaccination, people who are immunocompromised should continue follow current prevention measures (including wearing a mask, staying 6 feet apart from others they do not live with, and avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated indoor spaces) to protect themselves and those around them against COVID-19 until advised otherwise by their healthcare provider.
At a time when the Delta variant is surging, an additional dose could help prevent serious and possibly life-threatening COVID-19 cases within moderately or severely immunocompromised populations.