CDC recommends a third vaccine for the immunocompromised

Aug. 16, 2021

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommends a third dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine for people with moderately to severely compromised immune systems.

The official CDC recommendation follows the decision by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) last week to amend the emergency use authorizations for the vaccines to allow for the third dose in these situations.

“Emerging data suggest some people with moderately to severely compromised immune systems do not always build the same level of immunity compared to people who are not immunocompromised. In addition, fully vaccinated immunocompromised people have accounted for a large proportion of hospitalized breakthrough cases (40-44%). Immunocompromised people who are infected with SARS CoV-2 are also more likely to transmit the virus to household contacts,” the CDC said.

While people with compromised immune systems 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, the CDC said. 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.

full list of conditions can be found on CDC’s website.

The CDC said the additional dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine should be the same vaccine as the initial 2-dose series and administered at least four weeks after completing a primary mRNA COVID-19 vaccine series.

Even after the third dose, the CDC said people with compromised immune systems 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.

The CDC has not recommended additional doses or booster shots for anyone else.

Visit the CDC for more news