Questions to Ask Your Doctor About a Third Dose of COVID-19 Vaccine

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Questions to Ask Your Doctor About a Third Dose of COVID-19 Vaccine

Updated: 10/22/21

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its COVID-19 vaccine recommendations for people who are moderately to severely immunocompromised and therefore vulnerable to COVID-19 because they are more at risk of serious, prolonged illness.

Booster Shots

New guides from the CDC recommend that any of the COVID-19 vaccines can be used for booster vaccination, regardless of the vaccine product used for primary vaccination. When a heterologous or “mix and match” booster dose is administered, the eligible population and dosing intervals are those of the vaccine used for primary vaccination.

For individuals that received the mRNA COVID-19 vaccine (Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna) vaccine:

The following recipients of an mRNA primary series should receive a single COVID-19 booster dose (Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna or Janssen) at least 6 months after completion of the primary series:

  • People aged 65 years and older
  • Residents aged 18 years and older in long term care settings external
  • People aged 50–64 years with certain underlying medical conditions

The following recipients of an mRNA primary series may receive a single COVID-19 booster dose (Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna or Janssen) at least 6 months after completing their primary series based on their individual benefits and risks:

  • People aged 18–49 years with certain underlying medical conditions
  • People aged 18–64 years at increased risk for SARS-CoV-2 exposure and transmission because of occupational or institutional setting

For Individuals that received the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine:

  • People over the age of 18 who received a single dose Janssen primary series should receive a single COVID-19 booster dose (Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna or Janssen) at least 2 months (8 weeks) after completing their Janssen primary series.

These additional dose and booster dose recommendations also apply to people who received two doses of different mRNA COVID-19 vaccine products for their primary series.

Third Shot and Booster Shots for Immunocompromised individuals

The CDC recommends people who are moderately to severely immunocompromised should receive an additional dose (3rd shot) of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine (Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine) after the initial 2 doses and do so at least 28 days after a second dose of either vaccine. The CDC recommends that the mRNA vaccine product given for the first two doses should be used for the third dose; but if the same vaccine product is not available or is unknown, either mRNA COVID-19 vaccine product may be administered.

Additionally, the CDC also recommends that moderately and severely immunocompromised people over the age of 18 who received a 2-dose mRNA primary series and an additional mRNA additional dose (3 total mRNA vaccine doses) are eligible for a single COVID-19 booster dose (Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna or Janssen) at least 6 months after completing their third mRNA vaccine dose.

The Lymphoma Research Foundation (LRF) encourages people to talk to their healthcare provider about their medical condition, and whether getting an additional dose is appropriate for them. Below are recommended questions lymphoma patients, survivors and caregivers can ask their healthcare provider:

  • Can we please discuss the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) recommendation for a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine for immunocompromised individuals?
  • As a lymphoma/CLL patient or survivor, am I eligible to receive a third dose of the vaccine?
  • How soon after my primary two-shot series can I receive a third dose?
  • How soon before or after lymphoma/CLL treatment can I receive a third dose?
  • Should I receive a third dose of the same vaccine I received previously (Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine)? What should I do next if I received the Johnson and Johnson vaccine?
  • Will the side effects from the third dose be similar to what I experienced after the previous doses?
  • What information should I provide to you (and other members of my healthcare team) regarding my vaccination status? Should I send you any information regarding the date or type of vaccine I receive?
  • Can my caregivers or members of my household receive a third dose as well?
  • What other protective measures can I take after vaccination to avoid COVID-19 infection?

Recognizing that members of our community may require additional education materials and services at this time, we want to encourage anyone in need of support to contact the LRF Helpline. The LRF Helpline is available to assist patients and their loved ones so that they can feel empowered to make the most informed decisions about their treatment and long-term care.  The Helpline team can also connect patients to financial assistance, legal, and insurance resources. You may contact the LRF Helpline at 800-500-9976 or helpline@lymphoma.org with any of your lymphoma-related questions Monday through Friday from 9:30 am – 7:30 pm Eastern Time (ET).