Immunocompromised? State recommends a third dose of COVID-19 vaccine.

A white paper sign that says "COVID-19 vaccine" with an arrow pointing into a large white room
A COVID-19 vaccine clinic at the Dimond Center in August, 2021 (Lex Treinen/Alaska Public Media)

If your immune system is compromised, the state of Alaska says you should get a third dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine to better protect yourself from COVID-19.

The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services advice released Friday follows recent guidance from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The recommendation applies only to people who are moderately to severely immunocompromised. That includes people who:

•have been receiving cancer treatment for tumors or blood cancers.

•are taking medication that suppresses the immune system, due to an organ or stem cell transplant.

•have a disease that causes immunodeficiency or advanced HIV.

•have active treatment with high-dose steroid hormones like Prednisone or other drugs that suppress the immune response.

The third doses are available at any site that provides COVID vaccinations.

The advice does not yet apply to people who’ve had the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, but the state advises immuno-compromised people who’ve received the one-dose vaccination to talk to their doctor about possibly getting another dose.

For people who aren’t immunocompromised, authorities are not recommending a vaccine booster shot yet, but the state health department is beginning to plan for that guidance to come later this fall.

The state has a website to help you find a vaccine location or to make an appointment.

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Liz Ruskin is the Washington, D.C., correspondent for Alaska Public Media. She reports from the U.S. Capitol and from Anchorage. Reach her at lruskin@alaskapublic.org.