On Friday, August 13, the CDC’s immunization advisory committee voted to change guidelines for severely immunocompromised people to receive an additional dose of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. This third shot will be available to a very small and specific group of people who were unlikely to have a strong immune response to their first two doses. The CDC shared that about 40% of fully vaccinated people hospitalized with severe COVID-19 were previously severely immunocompromised. 

The people the CDC said may be considered for a third dose of vaccine include:

  • People in active cancer treatment;
  • People who have received organ transplants and are taking certain immunosuppressive therapies;
  • People who have received CAR-T cell or blood stem cell transplants;
  • People who suffer from moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (such as those with DiGeorge or Wiskott-Aldrich syndromes);
  • People with advanced or untreated HIV infection;
  • And those taking 20 milligrams or more or corticosteroids like prednisone every day, or alkylating agents, antimetabolites, transplant-related immunosuppressive drugs, severely immunosuppressive cancer chemotherapeutic agents, TNF blockers, and other biologic agents that are immunosuppressive or immunomodulatory.

Is this a booster dose?

No, this third dose of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine for severely immunocompromised people is not a booster dose. A third dose is now part of the normal vaccination course for severely immunocompromised people, as people in this group are unlikely to have had a strong immune response to their first two doses.

People who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine are not eligible for any additional doses at this time, as there is not yet enough data to warrant an additional dose for this population.

What Public Health Madison & Dane County is doing

As of today, August 13, we are not providing any additional doses for the people in the above groups. We are working closely with healthcare providers to make sure that this small group of severely immunocompromised people are able to receive a third dose of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine as quickly and efficiently as possible.  

What should I do if I’m in one of these groups?

Talk to your doctor to see if a third dose of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine is available to you. Keep in mind this recommendation was just issued and it might take several days for your provider to have information to share with you about obtaining a third dose of vaccine, if you are eligible for one.

This content is free for use with credit to the City of Madison - Public Health Madison & Dane County and a link back to the original post.