People who are immunocompromised (have weak immune systems)
People who are immunocompromised are especially vulnerable to COVID-19.
They are more likely to get COVID-19 than people with normal immune systems. And if they get infected, they are more likely to get seriously ill and to spread the virus to others. In addition, some people who are moderately or severely immunocompromised don’t build enough protection from the standard vaccine schedule.
Who is considered moderately or severely immunocompromised?
- 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 age 5+ who are moderately or severely immunocompromised should receive a COVID-19 vaccine primary series as soon as possible. This means 3 doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine - OR - one dose of J&J vaccine and one dose of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.
Those age 12+ who are moderately or severely immunocompromised should get a booster dose after their primary series. The type of additional and/or booster dose that is recommended depends on which vaccine you got for your primary series (see the Vaccine Schedules for Immunocompromised Persons images below). In addition, you may get a second booster dose at least 4 months after your first booster dose.
People who received a vaccine series outside of the US, or in a clinical trial, or got a mix-and-match series, should follow the recommendations in the Special Situations tab.
Vaccine Schedules for Immunocompromised Persons
† 2nd booster dose. You can get a 2nd booster dose (Pfizer or Moderna) at least 4 months after your 1st booster dose. If you are 12-17 years old, you can only get the Pfizer vaccine. See Thinking About Getting a 2nd Booster Dose.
‡ The Moderna booster is a half dose.
A Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is preferred over the J&J vaccine for all doses. This is because these vaccines offer better protection against COVID-19 than the J&J vaccine. You may get J&J in some situations. Note: only Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines are authorized for a 2nd booster dose.
Ask your doctor if you need to get additional doses and the best timing based on your current treatment plan.
This is especially important if you are about to start or restart immunosuppressive treatment.
For more information, see the CDC webpage COVID-19 Vaccines for Moderately to Severely Immunocompromised People and talk to your doctor.
- If your doctor’s facility does not provide vaccines, use the vaccine locator below to find the right type of vaccine. When you go to get vaccinated, take proof of vaccination such as your CDC white card or digital vaccination record.
- If you were recently infected with COVID-19, you may consider delaying your booster dose(s) for 3 months.
If I am immunocompromised, what else can I do to protect myself from COVID-19?
- Talk to your doctor. A medicine called Evusheld is now available to prevent COVID-19 infection in people who can’t build enough protection from vaccination alone. It can be given to people age 12+ with immunosuppression. For more information, see Medicine to treat & prevent COVID-19.
- Continue to protect yourself. Wear a respirator (e.g., N95, KN95, KF94) or double mask for a higher level of protection. Avoid crowded places or spaces with poor air flow, keep your distance, and wash your hands often.
- Encourage the people around you to protect you by getting vaccinated and boosted if eligible.