If I’m immunocompromised, should I get a COVID-19 vaccine booster shot?
You might have heard about “booster shots” for the COVID-19 vaccine. In this case, a booster shot refers to a third dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine at least 28 days after a patient’s second dose of either Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna’s vaccine.
But should you consider getting one? As of right now, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that people who have moderately or severely weakened immune systems get a COVID-19 vaccine booster shot.
Currently, the CDC does not recommend additional doses or booster shots for any other population. However, it is expected that the FDA and CDC will provide additional guidance regarding booster doses in other populations in the future.
Why a COVID-19 booster for those with weakened immune systems?
It’s all about protecting those who are most vulnerable. People with weakened immune systems are especially vulnerable to COVID-19. And if they get COVID-19, they are at higher risk of having a severe, prolonged illness.
A moderately to severely compromised immune system could be due to a medical condition or taking medications to suppress the immune system.
So, who is eligible?
Currently, people who are eligible to receive booster shots include those who:
- Are in active cancer treatment for tumors or blood cancers
- Are taking drugs that may suppress the immune system
- Have received an organ transplant and are taking medicine to suppress the immune system
- Have moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency
- Have received CAR-T-cell or hematopoietic stem cell transplant within the last two years or are taking medicine to suppress the immune system
- Have an advanced or untreated HIV infection
- Are in active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids
Is there anything different about the booster dose?
The booster shots for COVID-19 vaccines are not new vaccines. They are the same vaccines that have been authorized (Moderna and Pfizer). A booster shot will be a third dose of an existing mRNA vaccine.
What if I received the J&J vaccine?
The FDA’s authorization for additional doses only applies to the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines (Moderna and Pfizer). So additional shots do not apply to the J&J vaccine. 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 have any questions about whether a COVID-19 booster shot is appropriate 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.