Residents with Compromised Immune Systems Now Able to Receive Third Dose of Pfizer and Moderna Vaccines

by Patrick Herron

Residents with Compromised Immune Systems Now Able to Receive Third Dose of Pfizer and Moderna Vaccines

Information below courtesy of Montgomery County. More information available at

If you have a compromised immune system, contact your health care provider to find out if getting a third dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine is recommended for you. Additional doses of J&J vaccine are not yet authorized.

The third dose vaccine is available now at local pharmacies, retail stores, doctors’ offices, and County-run vaccination clinics.

See more information about third doses on the CDC website | Chinese / 中文 , Korean / 한국어 , Spanish / Español , Vietnamese / Tiếng Việt

Who Needs an Additional COVID-19 Vaccine?

CDC currently recommends that people with moderately to severely compromised immune systems get an additional 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 your immune response

You will be asked to self-attest that you meet one of the CDC eligibility recommendations to make sure vaccine gets to those identified as needing a third dose. County-run clinics will not require a doctor’s note or other proof.

What vaccine type should I get for my third vaccine dose?

You should get the same mRNA vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna) that you got for your first two doses. Before you go to a clinic, confirm it has the same vaccine type you already received.

At this time, the FDA and CDC have not authorized the J&J vaccine for an additional dose.

How long after my second COVID-19 vaccination can I get an additional dose?

CDC recommends that an additional dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine (Pfizer and Moderna) be given at least 28 days after an your second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.

What do I do if I got the Johnson & Johnson vaccine? Why is it not recommended that I get an additional dose?

The CDC and FDA have not authorized an additional vaccine dose for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine at this time. There is currently not enough data to determine whether someone who is immunocompromised needs an additional dose.

Studies are underway to test how well Johnson & Johnson vaccine protects people with weakened immune systems. Recommendations for these people will be coming soon.

The CDC does NOT recommend that people with a compromised immune system who have gotten a dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine start a new vaccination series with Pfizer or Moderna.

Are there risks of receiving an additional vaccine dose?

Limited information exists about the risks of receiving an additional dose of vaccine. Ongoing research is looking at the safety and benefit of additional doses of COVID-19 vaccines.

So far, reactions reported after a third dose of an mRNA vaccine were similar to those for first and second doses. The most common side effects reported have been fatigue and pain at the injection site. Overall, most side effects have been mild to moderate.

Booster Shots

On August 18, public health and medical experts from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released a statement on a plan for COVID-19 booster shots, pending FDA approval and CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommendations. Read the statement.

Although data continues to show the vaccines are highly effective in reducing the risk of severe illness, hospitalization and death, scientists are seeing a decrease in protection against mild and moderate illness from COVID-19 over time, especially due to the current surge of the highly contagious Delta variant. Because of this, HHS is planning to begin offering booster shots later this fall to people who received their second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna, both mRNA vaccines, more than eight  months ago.

Booster shots will be given eight months after an individual is fully vaccinated (after the second dose of Moderna or Pfizer).  This means that frontline health care workers and first responders will be the first to receive a booster dose.  This will provide longer-lasting protection against COVID-19.  We will share information about how to get a booster shot as soon as those plans are ready, but we anticipate that booster shots will be available through pharmacies, healthcare providers, and at county clinics.

It is also anticipated that booster shots may be needed for people who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. More data on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is expected in the next few weeks and we will share information on the plan once it’s announced.


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