COVID-19 Vaccines for Moderately to Severely Immunocompromised People
What You Need to Know
If you are moderately or severely immunocompromised (have a weakened immune system), you are at increased risk of severe COVID-19 illness and death. Additionally, your immune response to COVID-19 vaccination may not be as strong as in people who are not immunocompromised.
As with vaccines for other diseases, you are protected best when you stay up to date with your COVID-19 vaccines as described below.
CDC recommends everyone ages 12 years and older get an updated COVID-19 booster to help restore protection that has decreased since your last vaccine, and provides improved protection against newer variants. Updated boosters, also known as bivalent boosters, target the most recent Omicron subvariants, known as BA.4 and BA.5, in addition to the original SARS-CoV-2.
Use CDC’s COVID-19 booster tool to learn if and when you can get boosters to stay up to date with your COVID-19 vaccines. You may also be eligible for Evusheld, a medicine given by your healthcare provider every six months to help prevent you from getting COVID-19.
You can self-attest to your moderately or severely immunocompromised status, which means you do not need any documentation of your status in order to receive COVID-19 vaccine or booster doses, wherever they are offered.
Who Is Moderately or Severely Immunocompromised?
People are considered to be moderately or severely immunocompromised (have a weakened immune system) due to several types of conditions and treatments. Examples include:
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 chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-T-cell therapy (a treatment to help your immune system attach to and kill cancer cells) or received a stem cell transplant (within the last 2 years)
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 the immune response
Talk to your healthcare provider about COVID-19 vaccination and your medical condition.
If you are moderately or severely immunocompromised or severely allergic to COVID-19 vaccines, you may be eligible for Evusheld, a medicine given every six months by your healthcare provider to help prevent you from getting COVID-19. Talk to your healthcare provider to find out if this option is right for you.
People Who Were Vaccinated Outside of the United States
People who are moderately or severely immunocompromised and who received COVID-19 vaccines not available in the United States should either complete or restart the recommended COVID-19 vaccine series, including a booster, in the United States. For more information, talk to your healthcare provider, or see the COVID-19 Interim Clinical Considerations.
What are the Risks of Vaccinating People who are Moderately or Severely Imppunocompromised with a Third Primary Dose?
The safety, effectiveness, and benefit of the third primary dose in people who are moderately or severely immunocompromised continues to be evaluated. So far, reactions reported after the third primary dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine are similar to those of the two-dose primary series. Fatigue and pain at the injection site were the most commonly reported side effects—and overall, most symptoms were mild and temporary.
As with the two-dose primary series, serious side effects are rare, but may occur.