How Many COVID Shots Do You Need If You Are Immunocompromised?

The CDC clarified one ambiguity in its recent recommendation for booster vaccinations for COVID-19 : if you received a third vaccine from one of the mRNA vaccines because you have a weakened immune system, that third vaccine does not count as your booster shot. You can still get a booster if you fall into one of the categories for which boosters are recommended, and this will be your fourth shot. The clarification was published in the update of the clinical guidelines for COVID-19 vaccines .

(There is still no specific recommendation for immunocompromised people who have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, but everyone who has received this vaccine is advised to receive a booster dose if at least two months have passed since the first dose.)

So why are immunocompromised people getting four shots? Well, there are two initial doses everyone should get (three weeks apart for Pfizer, four weeks apart for Moderna), but it turns out that some people’s immune systems don’t respond well enough to those two doses, and a third needs to be protected. to completely take . The third dose should be given four weeks after the second.

People with cancer and people who have had organ transplants are likely to need a third shot, but this option is open to anyone with “moderate to severe” immunodeficiency. This includes people with primary immunodeficiency or on medications that suppress the immune system. The CDC has more information on who needs the third dose and why .

After you have received three doses, your “primary series” is complete and any future vaccinations will count as a booster. We have an explanation for what exactly defines a booster, although in all fairness it may not have been easy for regulators to decide which is which – the third dose for immunocompromised people is called the “additional” dose, not the dose. booster. However, in terms of vaccination requirements from your employer or organization, you will still be considered “fully vaccinated” after the second dose, like everyone else.


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