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Posted on: August 25, 2021

Third dose of vaccine recommended for immunocompromised

Jefferson County Public Health Logo

August 25, 2021
For Immediate Release

Jefferson County Community Health
Department of Emergency Management

Third dose of vaccine recommended for immunocompromised 

JEFFERSON COUNTY—People who are moderately to severely immunocompromised who received a Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccination may now receive a third dose according to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The recommendation applies to cancer patients, those with HIV/AIDS, those with inherited diseases that affect the immune system, and those taking medications that may suppress the immune system. Anyone who may be eligible for a third dose should talk to their healthcare provider first.

Vaccinations are now available from primary care providers and pharmacies. The Department of Emergency Management is planning to open clinics for immunocompromised individuals. As plans become final, additional information will be available on the Jefferson County Public Health webpage https://jeffersoncountypublichealth.org/1529/COVID-19-Vaccine. You may also call the Department of Emergency Management at 360-344-9791. 

FAQs: Third Doses of Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 Vaccines for the Immunocompromised

Compiled by Jefferson County Public Health. More information on the CDC’s website.

Q: Who qualifies for a third dose of Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine?

A: People who are moderately to severely immunocompromised. 

Q: What should immunocompromised people who received the J&J/Janssen vaccine do?

A: The FDA’s recent EUA amendment only applies to mRNA COVID-19 vaccines, as does CDC’s recommendation

Emerging data have demonstrated that immunocompromised people who have low or no protection following two doses of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines may have an improved response after an additional dose of the same vaccine. There is not enough data at this time to determine whether immunocompromised people who received the Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen COVID-19 vaccine also have an improved antibody response following an additional dose of the same vaccine.

Q: What qualifies a person as being moderately to severely immunocompromised?

A:

  • They are receiving active cancer treatment for tumors or cancers of the blood
  • They received an organ transplant and are taking medicine to suppress the immune system
  • They received a stem cell transplant within the last 2 years or are taking medicine to suppress the immune system
  • They have moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (such as DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome)
  • They have an advanced or untreated HIV infection
  • They are in active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids or other drugs that may suppress your immune response

Q: Do I have to go back to the same provider where I got my first vaccination?

A: No. For a list of places to receive a COVID-19 vaccine in Jefferson County, visit: https://jeffersoncountypublichealth.org/1529/COVID-19-Vaccine

Q: Do I need a prescription to receive a third dose of the vaccine?

A: No

Q: Does my third dose need to be the same brand of vaccine as I previously received? 

A: It is strongly recommended you receive the same brand of mRNA vaccine you received previously. However, if it’s not available, you may receive a dose of the other brand. 

Q: Why do immunocompromised people need a third dose of vaccine?

A: People with moderately to severely compromised immune systems may not build the same level of immunity to 2-dose vaccine series compared to people who are not immunocompromised. People who have compromised immune systems may benefit from an additional dose to make sure they have enough protection against COVID-19.

Q: If I qualify for a third dose, how long after my second dose should I receive the third?

A: CDC recommends that people with moderately to severely compromised immune systems receive an additional dose of mRNA COVID-19 vaccine at least 28 days after a second dose of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.

Q: Is a third dose the same as a booster?

A: No. This additional dose intended to improve immunocompromised people’s response to their initial vaccine series is not the same as a booster dose, given to people when the immune response to a primary vaccine series is likely to have waned over time.

Q: Are booster shots also recommended?

A: CDC does not recommend additional doses or booster shots for any other population at this time.

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