Following the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) approval of an additional dose of the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines for immunocompromised people, Orange County will begin administering third doses to those who qualify. The FDA has amended the Emergency Use Authorization for these vaccines to allow for a third dose which can be administered at least 28 days following the second dose of the vaccine.
Ideally individuals should be vaccinated with the same vaccine they received for the first and second dose, but if that is not possible, receiving a third dose with another mRNA vaccine is acceptable.
Although the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines work very well in most individuals, there is evidence that people who are severely immunocompromised are not fully protected after receiving two doses and this small, vulnerable group may benefit from a third dose. Certain medical conditions or the treatments used for specific conditions may prevent the immune system from responding adequately to two doses of the vaccine and therefore require an additional dose to provide adequate protection from COVID-19. Individuals who qualify for a third dose include:
- Organ transplant recipients
- People undergoing cancer treatment
- People with advanced or untreated HIV
- People who take certain immunosuppressive medications
The Orange County Health Department (OCHD) encourages individuals who qualify for a third dose to speak to their healthcare provider to confirm their eligibility and get vaccinated. Third doses of the vaccines will be accessible through vaccination sites that currently offer Pfizer or Moderna vaccines. Eligible individuals will be able to provide a self-attestation that they have a qualifying medical condition at these sites.
A follow-up dose is not currently recommended for those who have received a single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The FDA is still evaluating data on the effectiveness of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in immunocompromised individuals. COVID-19 vaccine booster doses are also not recommended for the general public at this time.
To find a vaccination site near you or make an appointment at vaccination sites:
Contact: Kristin Prelipp, Communications Manager and Public Information Officer