Some adults in the U.S. with weakened immune systems who have received a third dose of Pfizer or Moderna coronavirus vaccine, which is only allowed for them, will qualify for a fourth vaccination next year as a booster, in accordance with updated guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“In these situations, people with moderate to severely weakened immunity can receive a total of four doses of the vaccine,” with the fourth dose being delivered at least six months after the third, according to the CDC guideline.
In August, federal regulators approved a third dose of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines for some immunocompromised recipients of these vaccines, instructing them to receive it at least 28 days after the second vaccine. Federal agencies said studies have shown these people may not be adequately protected with just two shots.
The earliest of these immunocompromised people who received their third mRNA shot of the vaccine may receive their fourth booster shot in February. The agency said people can choose this booster vaccine from any of three coronavirus vaccines available in the United States.
The CDC also recommends that adults with moderate to severely compromised immunity who have received a single Johnson & Johnson vaccine receive another dose of any of the three brands of vaccine at least two months after their initial vaccination.
On Monday, the agency updated its guidelines to add dose escalation options for many immunocompromised people, including those undergoing chemotherapy, recovering from solid organ transplants, or facing some other medical issues such as HIV infection.
The new guidelines also state that the fourth dose of the Modern vaccine should be half the usual dose.
Many health officials and experts in the United States and other countries distinguish between supplemental vaccinations for immunocompromised people who may not have developed a strong immune response after their initial doses, and broader reinforcement programs designed to strengthening the immunity of other people. which can weaken naturally from infection over time.
The World Health Organization has supported additional doses for people with weakened immune systems, calling for a global moratorium on revaccination programs for otherwise healthy people by the end of the year so that more doses can be directed to low-income countries with low vaccination rates.
The call for a moratorium has not stopped countries like Israel, the United States and Germany from pushing forward pressure-boosting programs.