Are you immunocompromised? The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)  has now authorized immunocompromised individuals to receive a third mRNA COVID-19 vaccination for additional protection against the coronavirus. Both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are mRNA vaccines which, according to help to protect people by prompting the body to make and fight the spike-shaped proteins that will protect against a COVID-19 infection. While this is considered "new technology," when it comes to vaccine production, researchers have been studying them for decades.

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The FDA recommends that those who are immunocompromised should wait at least 28 days after completion of the initial two-dose COVID vaccine series.

Getting this "booster" vaccine dose is recommended for this group of people because the current data shows that people who are immunocompromised are more likely to become severely ill from COVID-19, are at a higher risk for being ill for a longer period of time, are more susceptible to variants of the virus, are more likely to transmit  COVID to those in their house and are more likely to have breakthrough infections.

Following the FDA's recommendation, The New York State Department of Health has fallen in line with this and also authorized a third COVID-19 vaccine dose for state residents with compromised immune systems according to Delaware County Public Health. If you are eligible, you can receive this third dose immediately or at least 28 days after the completion of your final dose of the vaccine.

You can also receive a booster now if:

• You have been receiving active cancer treatment for tumors or cancers of the blood;
• If you received an organ transplant and are taking medications to suppress the immune system;
• If you received a stem cell transplant within the last 2 years or are taking medicine to suppress the immune system;
• If you have moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (such as DiGeorge syndrome, WiskottAldrich syndrome);
• If you have advanced or untreated HIV infection;
• If you are currently undergoing treatment for something while taking high-dose corticosteroids, cancer chemotherapy that causes severe immunosuppression, or other medications that may suppress your immune response.

If you feel that you are currently eligible for this third dose, contact your healthcare provider to find out if this action would be appropriate for you.

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