On Friday the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) officially recommended a third mRNA COVID-19 vaccine dose for people whose immune systems are moderately to severely compromised. This recommendation applies to immunocompromised people who originally received two mRNA COVID-19 vaccines, but not to those who received the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. CDC recommends the third dose be administered at least four weeks after a second dose of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.
CDC recommendations apply to people who have:
- Been receiving active cancer treatment for tumors or cancers of the blood.
- Received an organ transplant and are taking medicine to suppress the immune system.
- Received a stem cell transplant within the last two years or are taking medicine to suppress the immune system.
- Moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (such as DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome).
- Advanced or untreated HIV infection.
- Active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids (i.e., ≥20mg prednisone or equivalent per day), alkylating agents, antimetabolites, transplant-related immunosuppressive drugs, cancer chemotherapeutic agents classified as severely immunosuppressive, tumor-necrosis (TNF) blockers, and other biologic agents that are immunosuppressive or immunomodulatory.
The CDC recommends people talk to their health care provider about their medical condition, and whether getting an additional dose is appropriate for them. The CDC has recommendations for providers to use when talking with patients who are immunocompromised about a third dose of an mRNA vaccine.
The CDC currently does not recommend additional doses or booster shots for any other population.
The new recommendations are in line with recommendations provided by the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) on Friday, and follow Thursday’s FDA approval of an additional COVID-19 mRNA vaccine dose for solid organ transplant recipients or those who are diagnosed with conditions considered to have an equivalent level of immunocompromise.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced it will pay the same amount for administering an additional dose of COVID-19 vaccine consistent with CDC and FDA recommendations (approximately $40 each). More information about billing and coding will be forthcoming.
For more information on COVID-19, visit the College’s COVID-19 resource page. The page has information about COVID-19 vaccines, variants, and other related information. Find the clinical, coding, telemedicine, practice management and patient resources you need.