New Yorkers who have weakened immune systems and got the first two doses of either the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine are being told to get a third booster shot.
The Food and Drug Administration has not yet authorized a second dose for those who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
The national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the City’s Health Department are calling on moderately to severely immunocompromised people to get the third dose of the mRNA vaccines based on recent studies that show that the vaccines do not work as well for some people with immunocompromising conditions.
The CDC says on its website that people with weakened immune systems are especially vulnerable to COVID-19 because they are more at risk of serious, prolonged illness, and they may not build the same level of immunity to the two-dose vaccine series compared to people who are not immunocompromised.
“This additional dose intended to improve immunocompromised people’s response to their initial vaccine series is not the same as a booster dose, given to people when the immune response to a primary vaccine series is likely to have waned over time,” the CDC says.
The City is urging New Yorkers who think they may be eligible for a third dose to speak with their doctors, who will consider medical conditions, treatment being received, risk of infection, and other factors.
Currently, the CDC is recommending the third dose for those 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 2 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 or other drugs that may suppress your immune response
The City says the FDA, CDC and independent experts have determined the benefits of getting a third dose outweigh any known or potential risks.
Brooklyn residents that need a third dose can get the vaccine at the same places as other vaccine doses, such as City-run vaccination sites, pharmacies, hospitals, community health centers, and doctors’ offices.
You do not need to get your third dose at the same site where you got your first two doses.
To find a vaccination site, go to nyc.gov/vaccinefinder or call 877-VAX-4-NYC (877-829-4692). You can also schedule free in-home vaccination by visiting nyc.gov/homevaccine or calling the above number.