Doses for people who are immunocompromised
Specific Instructions for people with weakened immune systems (immunocompromised) about an additional dose
People with weakened immune systems 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 other people in their home.
Studies have shown that some people who are immunocompromised don’t build enough protection after completing their primary COVID-19 vaccine series. Because of this, the CDC recommends that moderately to severely immunocompromised people receive an additional dose. This includes people who have:
Primary series was Pfizer or Moderna
An additional (3rd) dose is recommended
The CDC recommends that people who have moderately to severely weakened immune systems whose primary series was Pfizer or Moderna receive a 3rd dose. This includes people who have:
- 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 the immune response
This 3rd dose should be the same COVID-19 vaccine as your primary series. Talk to your doctor about the need to get an additional dose of COVID-19 vaccine. Ask about the best timing based on your current treatment plan. This is especially important if you are about to start or restart immunosuppressive treatment.
A booster dose may be considered at least 6 months after receiving the additional (3rd) dose. This booster can be any of the three COVID-19 vaccines: Pfizer, Moderna, or J&J. Talk with your doctor about whether a booster dose is right for you.
Primary series was Johnson and Johnson (J&J)
A booster dose is recommended
- The CDC recommends that moderately to severely immunocompromised people whose primary series was J&J receive a booster dose at least 2 months (8 weeks) after the primary dose.
- The booster can be any of the three COVID-19 vaccines: Pfizer, Moderna, or J&J.
- The CDC states that no more than a total of two COVID-19 vaccines are currently recommended for immunocompromised persons who received J&J as their primary series (i.e., the primary J&J dose and the booster dose).
Talk to your doctor if you have questions. Ask your doctor for the best timing based on your current treatment plan. This is especially important if you are about to start or restart immunosuppressive treatment.
- If your doctor’s facility does not provide vaccines, search below for a location near you.
- If your primary vaccine series was Moderna or Pfizer and you are looking for an additional 3rd dose, make sure to find a location that offers the same kind of vaccine as your primary series.
- When you go to the location, take proof of vaccination such as your CDC white card or digital vaccination record (see Vaccination Records webpage for details, including how to get your digital record) to show that you completed your initial series.
- If you attend a site run by Public Health, you will be asked to sign a self-attestation form if you don’t have your vaccination verification: English | Español (Other language
For more information, see the Moderna, Pfizer, or J&J Fact Sheets for Recipients and Caregivers and the CDC webpage COVID-19 Vaccines for Moderately to Severely Immunocompromised People.
Continue to protect yourself
It is important to continue to protect yourself even if you get a 3rd dose of vaccine or booster dose. This includes wearing a well-fitting mask, maintaining physical distance, avoiding crowded places or spaces with poor air flow, and washing hands often. Consider “double masking” (wearing a cloth face mask over surgical mask) or an N95 respirator for a higher level of protection. The people you are in close contact with can help to protect you by getting vaccinated if eligible (including booster doses).