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Third COVID-19 Vaccine Doses Recommended for Some Patients

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration have authorized an additional COVID-19 mRNA (Pfizer or Moderna) vaccine dose for immunocompromised patients. 

The CDC recommends a third dose for immunocompromised patients 28 days or more after the second dose of the Pfizer of Moderna vaccine. The extra dose is recommended for Pfizer recipients who are 12 or older and Moderna recipients who are 18 and older who are moderately to severely immunocompromised. 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 two 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.

Citing a lack of data, the agencies have not authorized additional doses for recipients of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine.

According to the CDC, people who are moderately to severely immunocompromised make up about 3% of the adult population and are especially vulnerable to COVID-19 because they are more at risk of serious, prolonged illness.

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 an additional dose to ensure adequate protection against COVID-19. In small studies shared by the CDC, fully vaccinated immunocompromised people have accounted for a large proportion of hospitalized “breakthrough cases,” and that suggests immunocompromised people are more likely to transmit the virus to household contacts.

For more information and frequently asked questions, visit the CDC website.

To find out where you can get vaccinated for COVID-19 in Benton, Lincoln and Linn counties, visit samhealth.org/GetTheVaccine