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Considerations for vaccination of people with certain underlying medical conditions

Any currently authorized COVID-19 vaccine can be administered to people with underlying medical conditions who have no contraindications to vaccination; ACIP does not state a product preference. Clinical trials demonstrated similar safety and efficacy profiles in people with some underlying medical conditions, including those that place them at increased risk for severe COVID-19, compared to people without comorbidities. Additional information for people with specific underlying medical conditions is included below. Healthcare providers or health departments in the United States can request a consultation from the Clinical Immunization Safety Assessment COVIDvax project if they have complex COVID-19 vaccine safety questions not readily addressed by CDC guidance.

Immunocompromised people

People with HIV infection or other immunocompromising conditions or people who take immunosuppressive medications or therapies might be at increased risk for severe COVID-19. No data are available to establish COVID-19 vaccine safety and efficacy in these groups. However, the currently FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccines are not live vaccines and therefore can be safely administered to immunocompromised people. People with stable HIV infection were included in the COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials, though data remain limited.

Immunocompromised people can receive COVID-19 vaccination. Data are currently insufficient to inform optimal timing of COVID-19 vaccination among people who are planning to receive immunosuppressive therapies. However, based on general best practices for vaccination of immunocompromised people, ideally COVID-19 vaccination should be completed at least two weeks before initiation of immunosuppressive therapies. When it is not possible to administer a complete COVID-19 vaccination series (i.e., two doses of an mRNA vaccine or a single dose of Janssen COVID-19 vaccine) in advance, people on immunosuppressive therapy can still receive COVID-19 vaccination. Decisions to delay immunosuppressive therapy to complete COVID-19 vaccination should consider the person’s risks related to their underlying condition. Consistent with general best practices for immunization for non-live vaccines, COVID-19 vaccines may be administered without regard to timing of corticosteroid treatment, including topical or intraarticular treatment, bursal, or tendon injection.

Antibody testing is not recommended to assess for immunity to SARS-CoV-2 following COVID-19 vaccination. At this time, revaccination is not recommended after people who received COVID-19 vaccines during chemotherapy or treatment with other immunosuppressive drugs regain immune competence. Recommendations on re-vaccination or additional doses of COVID-19 vaccines may be updated when additional information is available.

People should be counseled about the unknown vaccine safety profile and effectiveness in immunocompromised populations, the potential for reduced immune responses, and the need to continue to follow current guidance to protect themselves against COVID-19.

People with autoimmune conditions

People with autoimmune conditions were eligible for enrollment in COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials. No imbalances were observed in the occurrence of symptoms consistent with autoimmune conditions or inflammatory disorders in clinical trial participants who received COVID-19 vaccine compared to placebo. People with autoimmune conditions may receive any FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccine.

People with a history of Guillain-Barré syndrome

No cases of Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) were reported following vaccination among participants in the mRNA COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials. One case of GBS was reported in a participant in the vaccine group in the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial, compared to one GBS case among those who received placebo. With few exceptions, ACIP’s general best practice guidelines for immunization do not include history of GBS as a contraindication or precaution to vaccination. People with a history of GBS may receive any FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccine. Any occurrence of GBS following COVID-19 vaccination should be reported to VAERS.

People with a history of Bell’s palsy

Cases of Bell’s palsy were reported following vaccination of participants in the COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials. Available data were insufficient for FDA to conclude that these cases were causally related to vaccination. Post-authorization safety surveillance will be important to further assess any possible causal association. In the absence of such evidence, people with a history of Bell’s palsy may receive any FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccine. Any occurrence of Bell’s palsy following COVID-19 vaccination should be reported to VAERS.

People with a history of dermal filler use

Infrequently, people who have received dermal fillers might experience swelling at or near the site of filler injection (usually face or lips) following administration of a dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine (no similar occurrences were observed in the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials). The swelling appears to be temporary and resolves with medical treatment, including corticosteroid therapy. FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccines can be administered to people who have received injectable dermal fillers who have no contraindications or precautions for vaccination. However, these people should be advised to contact their healthcare provider for evaluation if they experience swelling at or near a dermal filler site following vaccination.

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