ARE COVID-19 VACCINE BOOSTERS NECESSARY?
THE RI DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH (RIDOH) IS FOLLOWING THE CDC GUIDELINES:
"The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) voted to support third doses of COVID-19 vaccine for people with moderate to severe immunosuppression. People are considered moderately to severely immunocompromised if they are or if they have:
- Active treatment for solid tumor and hematologic malignancies
- Receipt of solid-organ transplant and taking immunosuppressive therapy
- Receipt of CAR-T-cell or hematopoietic stem cell transplant (within 2 years of transplantation or taking immunosuppression therapy)
- Moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (e.g., 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."
If you have moderate to severe immunosuppression, please make an appointment the same way you made an appointment for your first and second doses. RIDOH recommends making an appointment in advance, but not all vaccination clinics require appointments. Please go to C19VaccineRI.org to find a vaccine clinic near you, or call 401-222-8022.
There is not enough data to support the use of an additional mRNA COVID-19 vaccine dose after a single-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccination series in immunocompromised people. FDA and CDC are working to provide guidance on this issue.
What do the Experts Recommend for the Rest of Us?
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) public health and medical experts released a joint statement on the plan for COVID-19 booster doses (find the joint statement in full at this link: https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2021/s0818-covid-19-booster-shots.html). HHS, CDC, and FDA continue to study data to understand how long vaccine protection lasts. The authorized COVID-19 vaccines continue to effectively reduce the risk of severe disease, hospitalization, and death, even against the highly prevalent Delta variant.
Evidence has shown vaccines provide less protection over time against mild and moderate COVID-19 disease in certain populations. People who are at higher risk or were vaccinated during the earlier phases of the vaccination rollout might need a booster dose to continue to have the maximum protection that the vaccines provide.
The CDC’s independent advisory committee, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), will continue to meet and discuss data on the evolution of the pandemic and the use of COVID-19 vaccines. ACIP will make further recommendations on the use of boosters for the public after a thorough review of the evidence. People who were fully vaccinated earliest in the vaccination rollout, including many health care providers, nursing home residents, and other seniors, will likely be eligible for a booster. (Not beginning until the fall, or 8 months after your second dose.)
Continue to visit the CDC COVID-19 Vaccine Booster Shot page or RIDOH's COVID-19 Vaccine FAQs for updates!