CDC Recommends Pfizer, Moderna Booster for Immunocompromised
By Joey Berlin


If you have patients with moderately to severely compromised immune systems, and they received either the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine series, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is now recommending a third shot. 

The agency’s new guidance came a day after the Food and Drug Administration amended its emergency use authorization for the Pfizer and Moderna shots. 

Following suit, Medicare also announced patients who qualify for a third shot will receive it with no cost-sharing. Medicare would pay physicians and others who administer a third shot the same amount – $40 – as it paid for each of the other doses, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced in a release.

For now, CDC does not recommend COVID-19 booster shots for any other population. 

According to the CDC guidance, immunocompromised patients should receive the booster dose at least 28 days after the initial two-dose Pfizer or Moderna series. Among others, the recommendation includes: 

  • Organ transplant recipients who are taking immunosuppressive medication;  

  • Patients with advanced or untreated HIV infection; and  

  • Active recipients of cancer treatment. 

“For people who received either Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine series, a third dose of the same mRNA vaccine should be used,” CDC says on its website. “A person should not receive more than three mRNA vaccine doses. If the mRNA vaccine product given for the first two doses is not available or is unknown, either mRNA COVID-19 vaccine product may be administered.” 

CDC noted that studies have indicated “some immunocompromised people don’t always build the same level of immunity after vaccination the way non-immunocompromised people do, and may benefit from an additional dose to ensure adequate protection against COVID-19.” Fully vaccinated, immunocompromised people have accounted for a large share of breakthrough cases in small studies, CDC added. 

CDC says there aren’t enough data right now to determine whether an additional dose of the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine would improve antibody response in the immunocompromised population.  


Last Updated On

August 17, 2021

Originally Published On

August 17, 2021

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Joey Berlin

Associate Editor

(512) 370-1393

Joey Berlin is associate editor of Texas Medicine. His previous work includes stints as a reporter and editor for various newspapers and publishing companies, and he’s covered everything from hard news to sports to workers’ compensation. Joey grew up in the Kansas City area and attended the University of Kansas. He lives in Austin.

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