Immunocompromised? You Might Need Another Dose of COVID Vaccine
Aug 13, 2021

NOTE: A version of this content originally appeared in Vaccinate Your Family’s Immunization Alerts eNewsletter, sent out on Friday, August 13, 2021. Stay up to date on the latest vaccine news by subscribing here.

The CDC’s expert advisory committee voted today to recommend a third dose of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines for certain immunocompromised people 12 years of age and older. The vote followed FDA’s expanded emergency use authorization for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. Anyone who is considered moderately to severely immunocompromised, and who received a two-dose series of the mRNA vaccines, should receive a third dose at least 28 days after their second dose.

The recommendation does not include additional doses of the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccine or booster doses for people who are not immunocompromised. Further research is underway to determine if either of these groups also requires a “booster” dose.

Those with weakened immune systems are more likely to get seriously sick with COVID-19, spread the virus to others in their home, and experience “breakthrough” cases even after getting vaccinated. Adding a third dose for immunocompromised people could help better protect them.   

Who Should Get a Third Dose?

Those who qualify for the third dose include people 12 years of age and older who have:

  • Active or recent treatment for cancer (solid tumor and hematologic malignancies)
  • Solid-organ or recent hematopoietic stem cell transplant
  • Severe primary immunodeficiency
  • Advanced or untreated HIV infection
  • Active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids, alkylating agents, antimetabolites, tumor-necrosis (TNF) blockers, and other biologic agents that are immunosuppressive or immunomodulatory
  • Chronic medical conditions such as asplenia and chronic renal disease that may be associated with varying degrees of immune deficit.

If you’re considered to be moderately or severely immunocompromised and you’ve been vaccinated with the two-dose series of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, you should get a third dose of whichever vaccine you originally received.

Fully vaccinated people with healthy immune systems do not need another dose of COVID vaccine at this time. If you aren’t sure whether you qualify for a third dose, please talk to your doctor or healthcare provider.  


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In addition to a third dose of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines, immunocompromised people should continue to take precautions such as wearing masks, avoiding crowds, and keeping their physical distance from people they don’t live with. Likewise, everyone around immunocompromised people should get vaccinated against COVID-19 to protect their loved ones.  

If you’d like to see what research has been done to support the recommendation, check out the meeting slides here. The CDC is also expected to update its clinical guidance on COVID-19 vaccines to include more details later today.  

For more information about COVID vaccines in general, check out Vaccinate Your Family’s website


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5 responses to “COVID Vaccine Boosters: What You Need to Know”

  1. Elizabeth Engelhardt says:

    I have a question. Should I still go get my booster shot even if my husband is at home with Covid or should I wait?

  2. Georgia says:

    I really found this blog post useful and completely agree with you in so many ways. The more I research vaccines the more I realise just how important getting the jab is. I had my first dose last Monday and I feel 1 step closer to living a normal life or the “new” normal. Whether it is the new normal or the old normal it is one step closer regardless of the circumstances. I read an article by (Orenstein & Ahmed, 2017) that explains the importance of getting vaccinated not only for personal protection, however, also for the community and cities that live around us. I related this article to your blog post when I read what you stated about ” feel like I am in a cocoon that is warm and safe watching the world go by.” This really sums up how lockdowns and isolation can feel like during COVID-19. This is why getting vaccinated is not only important for ourselves and overall health & protection but it is also important that we do for the people around us so we can see our loved ones again from all around the world and close. Thank you for writing about this really important topic, I thoroughly enjoyed it.

  3. May please schedule a (Covid ) booster shot for my 88 year old husband and myself…I am 81, as as soon as possible at store #6614 . We live on Main Street in Bothell. 98011

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