(Salt Lake City, UT) – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), acting on recommendations from its Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), today cleared the way for people who are immunocompromised to receive an additional dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines.
The CDC recommends an additional dose of the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines for people who are moderately or severely immunocompromised including 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 past 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
People should talk to their doctor about their medical conditions to find out if an additional dose is appropriate for them.
“This recommendation is specifically for people with moderate or severe immunocompromising conditions who are less likely to have fully responded to two doses of the vaccine. By getting a third dose, people with weakened immune systems can get better protection. Most people do not need an additional dose or booster doses at this time. The vaccines continue to be very effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalization, and death from COVID-19 in individuals without immune compromise,” said Dr. Leisha Nolen, UDOH state epidemiologist.
The Utah Department of Health (UDOH) recommends vaccine providers throughout the state become familiar with the CDC’s recommendations and begin offering an additional vaccine dose to this population as soon as they are able.
The age groups authorized to receive the additional dose are unchanged from those authorized to receive the primary vaccination series:
- Pfizer-BioNTech: aged 12 years and older
- Moderna: aged 18 years and older
Additional doses should be administered at least four weeks after a person receives their second dose of either Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines. Due to lack of available data and evidence on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine at this time, additional doses are not authorized for people who are immunocompromised and received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
The UDOH believes there is sufficient supply of vaccine available in the state to provide these additional doses.
“We are excited that the FDA and ACIP are making additional doses available for people who are immunocompromised. For many Utah families, the pandemic has brought heartache and sacrifice as they’ve made difficult decisions to protect their loved ones from COVID-19 as best they can,” said Nolen. “We must all continue to work together to decrease the spread of this virus in our state. Wearing masks, avoiding crowds, and of course, getting vaccinated are still critically important not just for people who are immunocompromised, but for the whole community.”
The FDA has updated the Fact Sheets for Healthcare Providers Administering the Vaccine (Vaccination Providers) and for Recipients and Caregivers with information to reflect the use of the vaccine for the people who are immunocompromised.
The CDC has updated information on this recommendation at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/recommendations/immuno.html.
For more information on how to find a COVID-19 vaccine in Utah visit https://coronavirus.utah.gov.