Last week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized a third dose of the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines for certain high-risk, immunocompromised patients. An independent panel advising the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) unanimously endorsed the FDA decision. This recommendation comes after months of research monitoring vaccine recipients and their immunity, and in response to the growing delta surge across the country.
Studies have found that those who are immunocompromised may experience less immunity from the COVID-19 vaccines and can benefit from additional protection afforded by a third shot. Those who are moderately to severely immunocompromised are especially vulnerable to COVID-19 because they are more at risk of serious, prolonged illness. This includes people who:
- Are 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 two years, or are taking medicine to suppress the immune system
- Have moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (such as DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome)
- Have advanced or untreated HIV infection
- Are receiving active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids or other drugs that may suppress immune response
More information, including who specifically is eligible and where to access the vaccine can be found here.
If you’re immunocompromised, and have spoken with your physician about getting a third dose, please contact your local participating pharmacies to make arrangements to get the vaccine.
Swedish Medical Group is gearing up to offer third dose vaccine for immunocompromised patients, so stay tuned. Please visit https://blog.swedish.org/ or call your Swedish care team for the latest information on third dose availability.
Swedish strongly recommends that all immunocompromised patients continue practicing ongoing infection prevention precautions including masking, physical distancing and good hand hygiene.
An additional dose for the broader population
This week, public health officials also indicated that a booster shot of the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccine could help reduce infection and disease rates in people who have already been vaccinated and work to better control the spread of variants.
According to a statement released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, preparation is underway to offer Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 booster shots starting eight months after an individual’s second dose of the two-dose vaccines. Pending authorization from the FDA and CDC, booster shots could be offered starting Sept. 20. At this time, there are no plans to offer a second dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Third-dose vaccine administration will be phased, with many health care providers, nursing home and long-term care residents, and other seniors among those who will likely be eligible first.
Swedish is waiting more guidance from officials on how the boosters will be distributed in our communities and we are committed to keeping our patients and our community updated.