Booster Vaccination Recommended for Immunocompromised Patients
People who are moderately to severely immunocompromised make up about 3 percent of the adult population and are especially vulnerable to COVID-19 because they are more at risk of serious, prolonged illness making them a priority. Studies indicate some immunocompromised people don’t always build the same level of immunity after vaccination the way non-immunocompromised people do and may benefit from a booster dose to ensure adequate protection against COVID-19.
As of September 22, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) amended the emergency use authorization (EUA) for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to allow for a single booster dose to be administered at least six months after the second dose of the vaccine. Impacted patients and Millennium team members include those who:
- Are 65 and older
- Are 18 and older and are at high risk of severe COVID-19
- Are 18 and older and have frequent exposure to COVID-19 that puts them at high risk of serious COVID-19 infection or complications from the virus
Moderna boosters have been approved only for immunocompromised individuals.
At this time, no booster recommendation has been made for individuals who have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
As of August 13, 2021, the CDC recommends all eligible people whose immune systems are moderately to severely compromised, and who received TWO doses of either Moderna or Pfizer vaccines, should receive a booster dose (third dose) of the same manufacturer/type. The CDC recommends the booster dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine be administered at least 28 days after a second dose of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. Read the full CDC statement here.
Eligible immunocompromised patients are those 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
Patients should talk to their healthcare provider about their medical condition, and whether getting an additional dose is appropriate for them.
Currently, booster doses are only recommended for people who’ve received the full vaccination with either Moderna or Pfizer mRNA vaccines. Boosters are not recommended or available for people who’ve received the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine. Health officials say they expect that recipients of the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine will also require an additional dose, but they are waiting for the results of J&J’s two-dose clinical trial, expected later this month.
Millennium currently only has a limited supply of J&J vaccines, so we are not administering booster doses at this time. We recommend all our patients who are eligible for the booster get the vaccine from whatever reliable source they can. Florida has many sites providing COVID-19 vaccines. Click here to locate a vaccine site near you.
While widespread vaccination is a critical tool to help stop the pandemic, at this time, the CDC does not recommend booster shots for non-immunocompromised people. Further evaluation to extend the vaccination to others is under consideration and will likely be presented in the near future.