People With a Weaker Immune System Should Get COVID-19 Booster, FDA Says
The authorization for a third shot applies to a small fraction of Americans, but more groups could be added later
People with a weaker immune system—those who are on immunosuppressant drugs after an organ transplant or who have a condition that impairs the immune system to a similar degree—should get a third dose of the coronavirus vaccine because the standard two-dose regimen might not provide them with adequate protection, the Food and Drug Administration said Thursday.
On Friday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, which sets the recommendations for the use of vaccines, endorsed the FDA’s recommendation for a booster shot for moderately or severely immunocompromised people. Additional vaccinations for this group could be available as soon as this weekend.
The authorization for a third dose applies only to people who got the Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, not the Johnson & Johnson single-dose vaccine. The CDC should soon have data to provide guidance to immunocompromised people who received the J&J vaccine, said Amanda Cohn, MD, chief medical officer for the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, during the ACIP meeting Friday. But very few immunocompromised people have received that vaccine, because it was authorized after the others, she said. Over 90 percent of people who are fully vaccinated in the U.S. received the Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
Editor’s Note: This article was updated with new information from the Aug. 13 ACIP meeting.