Vaccine advisers to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are now recommending an extra dose of the COVID-19 vaccine for some people with compromised immune systems.
The recommendation came Friday, one day after the Food and Drug Administration authorized booster shots for immunocompromised individuals.
The FDA determined that transplant recipients and others with a similar level of compromised immunity can receive a third dose of the vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna at least 28 days after getting their second shot. The FDA made no mention of immune-compromised patients who received the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Importantly, the FDA’s decision only applies to this high-risk group, estimated to be no more than 3% of U.S. adults. It’s not an opening for booster doses for the general population.
According to the CDC, immunocompromised people make up a disproportionate number of COVID-19 vaccine breakthrough cases. Breakthrough infections happen when a fully vaccinated person gets the virus anyway.
The agency said 32% of vaccinated breakthrough cases are among those with compromised immune systems.
COVID-19 vaccine booster doses for the general public are not yet recommended.