Three vaccine doses appear to be insufficient for people with weakened immune systems. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now recommends getting the fourth dose for optimum protection against COVID-19.

New Guidance

The CDC is keen on having immunocompromised people vaccinated for the fourth time amid reports on some pharmacies turning away people asking for another dose despite being boosted.

The public health agency revised its guidelines because there’s been “confusion” about the recommendations for the immunocompromised group, per ABC 7. The CDC already issued guidance recommending the fourth dose back in October.

With the updated guidance, the health organization said people with weakened immune systems should wait for a shorter period to get their additional booster doses amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Vaccine Type Guidelines

During a meeting of the CDC’s outside vaccine experts on the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices Friday, agency officials presented the specific updates for the different vaccine types available in the country.

For those who had the mRNA vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna), the waiting time for the fourth dose has been lowered to three months from five months, based on the data researchers have collected on vaccine efficacy in various studies.

For those vaccinated with Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine, the revised guidelines indicated that after getting their first booster shot at least 28 days following their primary jab, they need to wait for at least two months before having their second booster.

According to experts, immunocompromised people must get boosted because they are at a higher risk of getting infected even if they are fully vaccinated. They are also likely to suffer severe COVID-19 complications once infected. Furthermore, they can potentially harbor mutations leading to more virulent strains.

“In the past two months, I’ve seen many of these immunocompromised patients who had followed all the rules still have significant breakthrough infections. And I really think that this will help dramatically,” Boston-based Massachusetts General Hospital clinical director and infectious disease specialist Camille Kotton told Washington Post.