As of Aug. 19, 2021

Dear Patient,

As you may have heard, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) made new recommendations for the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines for moderately to severely immunocompromised people.

What are the new recommendations?

The CDC now recommends a third dose for certain people who got the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.
Who needs a third dose of Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines?

People who are moderate to severely immunocompromised should get another dose. These are people who:

  • Are actively being treated for cancer
  • Have received a solid organ transplant and are taking medicine to suppress the immune system
  • Have received CAR-T cell therapy
  • Have received a stem cell transplant within the last 2 years or are taking medicine to suppress the immune system after a stem cell transplant
  • Have moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (such as DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome)
  • Have advanced or untreated HIV infection (i.e., a CD4 count of less than 200)
  • Are taking high-dose corticosteroids (i.e., the equivalent of 20 or more milligrams of Prednisone a day)
  • Are getting other drugs that may suppress the immune response (i.e., tumor-necrosis blockers or other biologic agents that are immunosuppressive or immunomodulatory)

Why did the CDC make this recommendation?

People who are moderate to severely immunocompromised are more likely to get very sick if they get COVID-19. They may also have a longer illness. They may not get the same protection from two doses of the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines as other people do. The available data suggests that they may get more protection from the third dose of the vaccine.

If I am immunocompromised:

  • Where can I get another dose of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine?

You can search CDC.gov or visit Mass.gov to find a location near you. You can also text your zip code to 438829 or call 1-800-232-0233 to find a location.

  • Do I need a note from my doctor?

You will attest to being immunocompromised but you do not need a doctor’s note to get another dose.

  • Do I have to get the same vaccine I got for the first two doses?

You should get the same vaccine for your third dose as you have for the first two. But if it is not available, you can get the other vaccine. This means that if you got Pfizer for your first two doses, and it is not available, you can get Moderna for the third dose. However, whether you got Pfizer or Moderna, you should not get Johnson & Johnson as a third dose. Also, you should not get more than three doses of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.

  • When should I get a third dose of the vaccine?

The CDC recommends that you get the third dose at least 28 days after your second dose of vaccine.

  • Is a third dose safe?

There is not yet a lot of data on reactions to third doses of the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines. So far, reactions to third doses seem to be similar to the first two doses of the vaccine. Fatigue and pain at the site of the injection are the most common side effects.

  • Can I stop wearing masks and social distancing if I get a third dose?

While the third dose of vaccine may increase the protection you have, unless your healthcare provider advises you otherwise, you should still continue to follow current prevention measures. This includes wearing a mask, socially distancing, and avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated indoor spaces.

  • What if I got the Johnson & Johnson vaccine?

We do not yet know if anyone needs another dose after the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. There is not enough data yet to make any recommendations. We understand that the uncertainty is difficult. We will provide updates as new data becomes available.

  • Do I need a third dose or booster if I am not immunocompromised?

The CDC does not recommend additional doses or booster shots for any other population at this time. If you are fully vaccinated, there is nothing else you need to do. We will provide updates if there are recommendations for boosters or additional doses of the COVID-19 vaccines for people who are not moderately to severely immunocompromised.

If you are not fully vaccinated, we strongly encourage you to get the vaccine. You can visit Mass.gov to find a location near you. You can also text your zip code to 438829 or call 1-800-232-0233 to find a location.

Sincerely,
Pondville Medical Associates

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