Do I need to get a COVID-19 vaccine booster?

As of Friday August 13th, the CDC is now recommending that people with moderate to severe compromised immune systems should receive an additional dose (booster) of the COVID-19 vaccine after the initial two-dose vaccine series. At MOH, many of our patients have moderately to severely compromised immune systems and do not always build the same level of immunity compared to people with normal immune systems.  The CDC recommendation identifies people with a range of conditions including:

  • Those receiving active cancer treatment for tumors or cancers of the blood
  • Those that have had a bone marrow or stem cell transplant within the last 2 years or are taking medicine to suppress the immune system
  • Those with advanced or untreated HIV infection
  • Those actively being treated with high-dose corticosteroids or other drugs that may suppress your immune response

 

A full list of conditions can be found on CDC’s website.

 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

 

  1. Can you mix and match the vaccine type?

For people who received either Pfizer or Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine series, a 3rd dose of the SAME mRNA vaccine should be used at least 4 weeks after completing the two-dose vaccine series.   A person should not receive more than three mRNA vaccine doses.

 

  1. What should immunocompromised people who received the J&J vaccine do?

The FDA’s & CDC’s recent amendment only applies to mRNA COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna.  There is not enough data at this time to determine whether immunocompromised people who received the J&J vaccine also have an improved antibody response following an additional dose of the same vaccine.

 

  1. Do I need a letter from my doctor in order to get the vaccine? 

At this time you do not need a letter from your physician in order to get the COVID-19 booster.  You will be able to self-attest that you meet criteria.

 

  1. If I am immunocompromised and I get the booster, can I stop wearing a mask?

While 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.  Even after vaccination, people who are immunocompromised should continue 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 by your provider .

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United in Healing with The US Oncology Network - Maryland Oncology Hematology