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FDA/CDC Authorize Third Dose of Pfizer, Moderna for Immunocompromised Individuals

Last Updated: 08/13/2021

Immunocompromised individuals should be able to get a third dose of either Pfizer or Moderna beginning tomorrow - Saturday, August 14, 2021 - at any location offering COVID-19 vaccines

All sites are being advised to accept walk-ins for third doses. To find a vaccination location, visit covid19.nj.com/finder.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have authorized a third dose of free Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines for those with moderately to severely compromised immune systems after an initial two-dose vaccine.

The expansion to the Emergency Use Authorizations (EUAs) of both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines applies to "severely or moderately" immune-compromised individuals who are most likely to benefit from an additional dose. This includes patients in active cancer treatment; those with uncontrolled HIV; organ or stem cell transplant recipients; those taking medications that would weaken their immune systems such as chemotherapy or anti-rejection medication after a transplant; and disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs such as infliximab. A full list of conditions can be found on CDC's website.

At a time when the Delta variant is surging, an additional vaccine dose for some people with weakened immune systems could help prevent serious and possibly life-threatening COVID-19 cases within this population.

According to the CDC, the additional dose of either Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine should be the same vaccine as the initial series and administered at least four weeks after completing a primary COVID-19 vaccine series. While vaccination is likely to increase protection in this population, even after vaccination, people who are immunocompromised should continue to follow current prevention measures (including wearing a mask, staying 6 feet apart from others they do not live with, and avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated indoor spaces) to protect themselves and those around them against COVID-19 until advised otherwise by their healthcare provider. CDC does notrecommend additional doses for any other population at this time.

The FDA concluded that, at this time, there is not sufficient data to recommend an additional dose of the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccine or to allow those who received a J&J vaccine to be given an additional shot of either Pfizer or Moderna.

Immunocompromised individuals should be able to get a third dose of either Pfizer or Moderna beginning tomorrow at any location offering COVID-19 vaccines. Pfizer vaccine is the only one authorized for adolescents 12-17 years of age. All existing active points of dispensing are being instructed to offer third doses. All sites are being advised to accept walk-ins for third dose administration. To find a vaccination location, visit covid19.nj.com/finder.

Individuals should not be asked for proof of their condition or a doctor's note. If individuals don't have their vaccine card or their digital COVID-19 record via the Docket app, the vaccine provider should look up the individual's vaccine record on the state's vaccine registry.

Individuals with questions should talk to their health care provider. Caregivers or representatives of immunocompromised homebound individuals can call the New Jersey Vaccine Call Center at 855-568-0545 for additional guidance.

For more information, view the CDC statement and the New Jersey Department of Health FAQ.