Who is eligible for a 3rd dose?
The CDC has authorized Pfizer and Moderna vaccine recipients for a 3rd dose if they have a health condition that severely weakens their immune system. 2.7% of the adult population and a small number of adolescents will qualify. These conditions include the following:
• Organ transplant recipients
• Current treatment for blood and lymph cancers (leukemias and lymphomas) and most other types of cancers requiring chemotherapy
• Stem cell transplant recipients
• Advanced HIV infection
• Active treatment with medications that weaken components of the immune system, including 20 or more milligrams/day of prednisone or comparable steroid medications, TNF blockers, and other medications that impair response of the immune system
• Primary immunodeficiency diseases (e.g., DiGeorge, Wiskott-Aldrich syndromes)
• Severe renal disease
Anyone qualifying for a third dose should already be under the care of a physician. It is best for you to have a discussion with your personal doctor to decide: 1) if a 3rd dose is appropriate for you, and 2) if any temporary modifications in your treatments are needed to get the greatest benefit from a 3rd vaccine dose.
What if I received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine?
For the moment, there is no authorization to provide recipients of the J&J vaccine with an additional dose. Questions that need to be answered include the amount of benefit people will get from an additional vaccination and which brand of vaccine will give the greatest benefit. For every 1 American who received a J&J vaccine, 12 others received an mRNA vaccine. As a result, evidence has accumulated more quickly regarding the benefits of a supplemental dose in Pfizer and Moderna recipients than for those who received J&J.
The CDC knows that people who have received the J&J vaccine and have high-risk underlying health problems are anxiously awaiting guidance. Research to answer these questions is currently underway. The doctors on the CDC Vaccine Advisory Panel have said that they will provide the public with an answer as soon as possible.
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