Additional COVID-19 Vaccine Doses FAQs

COVID-19 Vaccine BottlesDo I need another COVID-19 shot?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) currently recommends that people who have certain conditions that may weaken their immune system who have already received two doses of the Moderna or Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, receive a third dose for additional protection.

The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines have provided incredible protection against COVID-19. However, studies have shown that those who have weakened immune systems, like organ or bone marrow transplant recipients, do not receive as much protection from the vaccine, since they are on medication that naturally reduces their immune response to ensure their body doesn’t reject the transplant.

Additional studies have shown that a third dose of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine greatly increases the protection from COVID-19 among individuals who have weakened immune systems.

For more information on the CDC’s third-dose vaccine recommendation for immunocompromised people, please read answers to frequently asked questions below.

Only certain immunocompromised individuals are eligible for a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Recently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) amended the emergency use authorizations (EUAs) for both the Pfizer vaccine (ages 12+) and the Moderna vaccine (ages 18+) to allow for the use of an additional dose in certain immunocompromised individuals. Patients who are eligible must receive the same shot as their first two doses.

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine has not yet been authorized for any additional doses.

If you are eligible for an additional dose of Pfizer or Moderna, you need to wait at least 28 days after your second dose before your receive a third shot.

The CDC and FDA are only recommending one additional dose at this time.

As of now, the FDA and The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is recommending an additional shot for organ transplant recipients or those who have a similar immunocompromised illness.

Beth Israel Lahey Health will be reaching out to patients who are eligible due to their medical conditions.

There are a number of places to get vaccinated, including state-run vaccination clinics, retail pharmacies and other locations. Check the state’s searchable directory for more information.

BILH patients who meet the criteria may also be able to receive a third dose at a BILH facility. We will be reaching out to those patients with more information.

Patients must receive the same vaccine they received initially. However, at this time, only individuals who are identified as having a weakened immune system and who received Pfizer and Moderna will be eligible for an additional shot.

People with weakened immune systems have a reduced ability to fight infections and other diseases, and they are especially vulnerable to infections, including COVID-19.

If you are not immunocompromised, you are not eligible to receive an additional shot at this time. However, here are some safety precautions you should continue to take:

  • Get vaccinated if you haven’t yet. Unvaccinated people are at the greatest risk for infection and severe disease. Getting vaccinated can also help protect your loved ones who are unable to be vaccinated or who are more vulnerable to infections. The vaccines are safe and highly effective against preventing severe disease, hospitalization and death.
  • Wear a mask in indoor public places if you’re not vaccinated. Mask wearing indoors is also recommended if you have a weakened immune system or if you live in a community with a high rate of COVID-19 transmission, regardless of your vaccination status.
  • Monitor your health. Pay attention to symptoms like fever, cough, shortness of breath or cold-like symptoms. Stay home and get tested if appropriate.

For more information, read the CDC’s “COVID-19 Vaccines for Moderately to Severely Immunocompromised People.”

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