Additional Doses for Immunocompromised

The Tennessee Department of Health is following CDC recommendations and providing a third dose of the mRNA COVID-19 vaccine (Pfizer and Moderna) to moderately and severely immunocompromised individuals.

"Moderately and severely immunocompromised" individuals are defined as: 

  • Receiving active cancer treatment for tumors or cancers of the blood
  • Received an organ transplant
  • Received a stem cell transplant within the last 2 years
  • 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 

Key Points:

  • The additional dose should be administered at least 28 days after the completion of the initial mRNA COVID-19 vaccine series.
  • The additional mRNA vaccine dosage should be the same brand (Pfizer or Moderna) as previously administered vaccine.
  • Patients do not need to prove their diagnosis to be eligible for an additional vaccine dose.
  • Due to insufficient data, the amendment for an additional dose does NOT apply to Janssen COVID-19 vaccine or to individuals who received Janssen COVID-19 as a primary series.
  • Individuals should talk with their health care provider about their medical condition, and whether getting an additional dose is appropriate for them.
  • The currently FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccines are not live vaccines and therefore can be safely administered to immunocompromised people.
  • The mRNA COVID-19 vaccines can be co-administered with other non-live vaccines such as the high-dose seasonal influenza vaccine and there is no 14-day waiting period.

Additional Dose vs Booster:

  • Additional dose or "third" dose: administration of an additional vaccine dose when the initial immune response following a primary vaccine series is likely to be insufficient.
  • Booster: a dose of vaccine when the initial sufficient immune response to a primary vaccine series is likely to have waned over time.