How to Reduce Risk of COVID-19 Infection if You Are or May Be Immunocompromised, or if You Have Certain Other Medical Conditions
Individuals who are immunocompromised, or have certain other medical conditions, may be at increased risk of severe COVID-19 infection if exposed. There are many different conditions and medications that may lead to a weakened immune system. You should discuss your individual circumstances with your clinician. Students who wish to request a disability-related accommodation may reach out to Student Accessibility Services for more information. Faculty and staff may contact the Office of Institutional Equity and Accessibility.
There are important actions you can take to prevent infection or reduce risk:
Wear a well-fitting mask.
- While many around you may not be masked, “one way masking” (the wearer masks to protect themselves) with a high-quality well-fitting mask can significantly reduce your risk of exposure to SARS Co-V 2 virus. We recommend masking indoors in classrooms, in crowded settings when you are unable to distance yourself, during aerosolizing activities (like singing, loud or public speaking, or exercising) or when you are in a closed space with others for longer durations.
- Mask type matters. Choose an N95 or KN95 mask. Fit testing an N-95 mask improves its effectiveness. You may schedule a fit test through Environmental Health and Safety (EHS).
Avoid crowds and poorly ventilated spaces where feasible.
- Spending time outside when possible, instead of inside can also help. Viral particles spread between people more readily indoors than outdoors.
- When you need to be in an indoor space, consider opening doors and window to enhance ventilation.
- If you have questions about the ventilation in a Yale common space, contact EHS at 203-785-3550. If after hours, please leave a message
Get vaccinated and boosted.
- Vaccination is the most important way to protect yourself. Make sure that you are up to date with all recommended vaccines and boosters.
See if you are eligible for pre-exposure prophylaxis medication.
- Some individuals with moderate to severe immune compromise, or who are unable to be vaccinated, are eligible for Evusheld (Tixagevimab/cilgavimab), an immune medication that significantly reduces the risk of COVID-19 infection in the event of exposure. Evusheld is an injected medication given every 6 months. If you think you may be eligible for Evusheld, contact your PCP or specialist to discuss.
- If you have symptoms, test. Having rapid antigen test kits on hand is recommended in the event of symptoms, or you may test through the Yale COVID-19 Testing Program. While Yale has suspended its routine asymptomatic testing requirements, you are free to test up to twice weekly through the Testing Program. However, testing is not in itself an effective prevention strategy but instead allows for early detection.
- Consider testing after travel involving crowded indoor spaces where most people are unmasked (e.g., airline or train terminals) or after attending a crowded indoor event, especially if it lasted several hours and/or involved eating and drinking.
Get medical treatment if you do test positive for COVID-19.
- Contact your primary care provider as soon as possible to discuss medications which have been shown to reduce the risk of developing severe disease. Reviewing treatment options with your clinician in advance can help you to be prepared, including assessing any medications that may interfere with the most commonly prescribed oral treatment, Paxlovid or whether monoclonal antibody treatment is appropriate.
Ask your friends and family to help protect you.
- People you spend a lot of time with can take steps to minimize your risk of COVID-19, including being up to date with vaccines, testing in the event of exposure, wearing a mask when with you, and staying away if they develop symptoms.