Although they may not provide the same protection in healthy individuals, shots should still be effective.
For people whose immune systems are compromised by certain drugs or diseases, vaccinations are still highly recommended. Your family, friends, and caregivers should also be vaccinated to reduce the risk of spreading the virus.
A third of Americans have a weak immune system. People with HIV/AIDS, transplant recipients, cancer patients, and those with autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid, inflammatory bowel disease, and lupus are just a few of them.
The effectiveness of COVID-19 shots was not studied in large numbers among people with weak immune systems. However, limited evidence and experience with influenza and pneumonia vaccines suggests that they don't work as well in some people as they do for others. People with weak immune systems should continue to take precautions such as wearing masks and avoiding large crowds.
Dr. Ajit Limaye is a transplant expert at University of Washington Medicine, Seattle.
According to guidance from the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, most cancer patients should be vaccinated as soon possible. However, those who have stem cell transplants or CAR-T-cell therapy should wait at minimum three months before getting vaccinated. This will ensure that vaccines work well.
Researchers are investigating whether an additional dose might make vaccines more effective for transplant recipients.
French guidelines recommend that a third dose of COVID-19 be given to immunocompromised patients, as well as organ recipients. Israel has recently begun giving extra doses of the Pfizer vaccine for transplant patients and other people with weak immune systems. A third dose of the Pfizer vaccine is available to U.S. transplant patients who are not authorized by the federal government. This allows them to seek additional protection.