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.