CDC recommends a 3rd COVID shot for some immunocompromised people

The guidance is for people who are "moderately to severely" immunocompromised, including organ transplant recipients and those being treated for cancer in the blood.

Ty Pendlebury Editor
Ty Pendlebury is a journalism graduate of RMIT Melbourne, and has worked at CNET since 2006. He lives in New York City where he writes about streaming and home audio.
Expertise Ty has worked for radio, print, and online publications, and has been writing about home entertainment since 2004. He majored in Cinema Studies when studying at RMIT. He is an avid record collector and streaming music enthusiast. Credentials
  • Ty was nominated for Best New Journalist at the Australian IT Journalism awards, but he has only ever won one thing. As a youth, he was awarded a free session for the photography studio at a local supermarket.
Jessica Rendall Wellness Writer
Jessica is a writer on the Wellness team with a focus on health news. Before CNET, she worked in local journalism covering public health issues, business and music.
Expertise Medical news, pregnancy topics and health hacks that don't cost money Credentials
  • Added coconut oil to cheap coffee before keto made it cool.
Ty Pendlebury
Jessica Rendall
2 min read

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended Friday that some immunocompromised people who received two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine should receive an extra shot.

Those advised by the CDC to get an added dose of an mRNA vaccine include: organ transplant patients, those receiving treatment for tumors or cancers of the blood, people who've gotten stem cell replacements within the last two years, people with advanced or untreated HIV infections, people receiving active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids or other drugs that may suppress your immune response, and people with moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency syndromes, such as DiGeorge or Wiskott-Aldrich. 

People who need one can get a dose of Pfizer if they're 12 or older, and Moderna if they're 18 and up, at least 28 days after their second dose. You should get the same mRNA vaccine that you received for your first vaccine regimen, but if that one's not available, you can get the other mRNA vaccine, the CDC says.

Immunocompromised people who got the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine aren't included in the recommendation, the CDC says, because there isn't enough data about that vaccine and improved antibody response after an mRNA dose.

The recommendation comes a day after the US Food and Drug Administration gave its authorization for individuals with certain immunocompromising conditions to receive a third shot of mRNA vaccine. When CDC and FDA members made their decisions, they cited data that shows immunocompromised people don't build the same level of immunity or protection after vaccination that non-immunocompromised people do. 

The new guidance also comes shortly after World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus called for a "moratorium" on COVID-19 booster shots in wealthier countries, citing inequalities in vaccine distribution across the globe. Of the 4 billion doses administered globally, 80% have gone to high- and upper-middle income countries that make up less than half of the world's population, he said. 

About 3% of US adults are immunocompromised, according to the CDC, but research suggests they account for about 44% of hospitalized breakthrough cases of COVID-19.

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.