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Important Message from Dr. Paul Genecin about Third COVID-19 Vaccine Doses for Immunocompromised Patients

Aug 19, 2021: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) amended the emergency use authorizations (EUAs) for both the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines to allow for the use of an additional dose in certain immunocompromised individuals. 

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) now recommends an additional dose for patients who are moderately to severely immunocompromised with the following conditions:

  • 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, or Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome)
  • Advanced or untreated HIV infection
  • Active treatment with immune-suppressing medications, including high-dose corticosteroids, chemotherapy, tumor necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitors, and other biologic agents that suppress or modulate the immune system

Key facts

  • If you have one of the above conditions, you are eligible to receive an additional dose.
  • Additional doses must be administered at least 28 days from the last dose of Pfizer (ages 12 and older) or Moderna (ages 18 and older).
  • The same manufacturer (Pfizer or Moderna) for additional dose is preferred, but mixing is permissible.
  • Patients who received Johnson & Johnson vaccine are not eligible for an additional dose. The CDC is studying this issue and updates will be provided as available.
  • Self-scheduling for additional dose appointments is available through the Yale COVID-19 vaccine program.

You will be asked to identify and confirm that you have one or more of the qualifying conditions at the time of scheduling. If you have questions about whether you are immunocompromised, please speak to your treating clinician.

What about booster shots?

On August 18, 2021, Health and Human Services announced a plan to begin offering COVID-19 vaccine booster shots to the public this fall. The CDC’s independent advisory committee, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), will continue to meet and discuss data on the evolution of the pandemic and the use of COVID-19 vaccines. ACIP will make further recommendations on the use of boosters for the public after a thorough review of the evidence. Yale Health will follow ACIP guidelines and is actively planning to offer booster shots upon approval. More information about this is expected in the near future.

Paul Genecin, M.D.
CEO, Yale Health