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COVID-19 Vaccines for Moderately to Severely Immunocompromised People

What You Need to Know

  • People with moderately to severely compromised immune systems are especially vulnerable to COVID-19, and may not build the same level of immunity to 2-dose vaccine series compared to people who are not immunocompromised.
  • 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.
  • This additional dose is intended to improve immunocompromised people's response to their initial vaccine series.

Who Needs an Additional Dose of COVID-19 Vaccine?

Currently, CDC is recommending that moderately to severely immunocompromised people receive an additional dose. This includes 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 last 2 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 primary care physician about their medical condition and whether getting an additional dose is appropriate for them.

Data on Decreased Immune Response Among Immunocompromised People

People who are moderately to severely immunocompromised make up about 3% of the adult population and are especially vulnerable to COVID-19 because they are more at risk of serious, prolonged illness.

Studies have found that some immunocompromised people don't always build the same level of immunity after vaccination the way non-immunocompromised people do and may benefit from an additional dose to ensure adequate protection against COVID-19. Smaller studies found fully vaccinated immunocompromised people made up a large proportion of hospitalized "breakthrough cases," suggesting immunocompromised people are more likely to transmit the virus to household contacts.

Vaccination Card and an Additional Dose

At your first vaccination appointment, you should have received a vaccination card that tells you which COVID-19 vaccine you received, the date you received it, and where you received it. Bring this vaccination card to your additional dose vaccination appointment.

Find a COVID-19 Vaccine: Search, text your ZIP code to 438829, or call 1-800-232-0233 to find locations near you.

  • Check your local pharmacy's website to see if vaccination walk-ins or appointments are available.
  • Contact your state or local health department for more information.
  • Visit the Student Health Center's COVID-19 vaccine clinic webpage for clinic dates.

Learn more on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.