Third doses are different from booster doses. A third dose of the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines (Pfizer or Moderna) can help protect people with weakened immune systems who did not have a strong enough response to the first two doses of one of these vaccines. People in this category can get a third dose as soon as 28-days after the second dose. The FDA has authorized, and the CDC recommends, that those with certain medical conditions that suppress the immune system get a third dose of the same brand of COVID-19 vaccine that they initially received, whenever possible. Additional doses are currently not recommended for people who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, even if they have a qualifying medical condition.
Based on CDC recommendations, third vaccine doses are available now for people who are considered moderately or severely immunosuppressed. This includes individuals who:
- Receive active cancer treatment for tumors or cancers of the blood;
- Received an organ transplant and are taking medicine to suppress the immune system;
- Have either had a stem cell transplant within the last two years or are taking medicine to suppress the immune system;
- Were diagnosed with DiGeorge syndrome or Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome;
- Are diagnosed with HIV and have a high viral load or low CD4 count, or are not currently taking medication to treat HIV;
- Are taking drugs such as high-dose steroids or other medications that cause suppression of the immune system.
If you are not sure if you fit into any of these categories, please contact your medical provider.