Important update: Healthcare facilities
CDC has updated select ways to operate healthcare systems effectively in response to COVID-19 vaccination. Learn more
UPDATE
Given new evidence on the B.1.617.2 (Delta) variant, CDC has updated the guidance for fully vaccinated people. CDC recommends universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to K-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status. Children should return to full-time in-person learning in the fall with layered prevention strategies in place.
UPDATE
The White House announced that vaccines will be required for international travelers coming into the United States, with an effective date of November 8, 2021. For purposes of entry into the United States, vaccines accepted will include FDA approved or authorized and WHO Emergency Use Listing vaccines. More information is available here.
UPDATE
Travel requirements to enter the United States are changing, starting November 8, 2021. More information is available here.

People with Certain Medical Conditions

People with Certain Medical Conditions
Updated Nov. 22, 2022

If you or your family member are at high risk for severe illness, wear a mask or respirator with greater protection in public indoor spaces if you are in an area with a high COVID-19 Community Level. Talk with your healthcare provider about wearing a mask in a medium COVID-19 Community Level.

If you test positive and are an older adult or someone who is at high risk of getting very sick from COVID-19, treatment is available. Contact a healthcare provider right away after a positive test to determine if you are eligible, even if your symptoms are mild right now. You can also visit a Test to Treat location and, if eligible, receive a prescription from a provider. Don’t delay: Treatment must be started within the first few days to be effective.

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This information is intended for a general audience. Healthcare professionals should see Underlying Medical Conditions Associated with Higher Risk for Severe COVID-19 for more detailed information.

What You Need To Know

  • A person with any of the medical conditions listed below is more likely to get very sick with COVID-19. If you have one of these conditions, talk with your healthcare provider about how best to protect yourself from severe illness from COVID-19.
  • The list below does not include all possible conditions that put you at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19. If you have questions about a condition not included on this list, talk to your healthcare provider about how best to manage your condition and protect yourself from COVID-19.
  • Staying up to date with COVID-19 vaccines, getting doses of EVUSHELDTM if eligible, and following preventive measures for COVID-19 are important. This is especially important if you are older or have severe health conditions or more than one health condition, including those on the list below.
  • Approved and authorized COVID-19 vaccines (primary series and booster) are safe and effective.
  • Some people who are immunocompromised, or people with weakened immune systems, may be eligible for an additional primary dose of COVID-19 vaccine.

Overview

Based on the current evidence, a person with any of the conditions listed below is more likely to get very sick from COVID-19. This means that a person with one or more of these conditions who gets very sick from COVID-19 (has severe illness from COVID-19) is more likely to:

  • Be hospitalized
  • Need intensive care
  • Require a ventilator to help them breathe
  • Die

In addition:

Staying up to date with COVID-19 vaccines and taking COVID-19 prevention actions are important. This is especially important if you are older or have severe health conditions or more than one health condition, including those on this list. Learn more about how CDC develops COVID-19 vaccination recommendations. If you have a medical condition, learn more about Actions You Can Take.

Medical Conditions

  • The conditions on this list are in alphabetical order. They are not in order of risk.
  • CDC completed a review for each medical condition on this list. This was done to ensure that these conditions met criteria for inclusion on this list. CDC conducts ongoing reviews of additional underlying conditions. If other medical conditions have enough evidence, they might be added to the list.
  • Because we are learning more about COVID-19 every day, this list does not include all medical conditions that place a person at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19. Rare medical conditions, including many conditions that mostly affect children, may not be included on the list below. We will update the list as we learn more.
  • A person with a condition that is not listed may still be at greater risk of getting very sick from COVID-19 than other people who do not have the condition. It is important that you talk with your healthcare provider about your risk.

Cancer

Having cancer can make you more likely to get very sick from COVID-19. Treatments for many types of cancer can weaken your body’s ability to fight off disease. At this time, based on available studies, having a history of cancer may increase your risk.

Get more information:

Chronic kidney disease

Having chronic kidney disease of any stage can make you more likely to get very sick from COVID-19.

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Chronic liver disease

Having chronic liver disease can make you more likely to get very sick from COVID-19. Chronic liver disease can include alcohol-related liver disease, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, autoimmune hepatitis, and cirrhosis (or scarring of the liver).

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Chronic lung diseases

Having a chronic lung disease can make you more likely to get very sick from COVID-19. Chronic lung diseases can include:

  • Asthma, if it’s moderate to severe
  • Bronchiectasis (thickening of the lungs’ airways)
  • Bronchopulmonary dysplasia (chronic lung disease affecting newborns)
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), including emphysema and chronic bronchitis
  • Having damaged or scarred lung tissue known as interstitial lung disease (including idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis)
  • Pulmonary embolism (blood clot in the lungs)
  • Pulmonary hypertension (high blood pressure in the lungs)

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Cystic fibrosis

Having cystic fibrosis, with or without lung or other solid organ transplant (like kidney, liver, intestines, heart, and pancreas) can make you more likely to get very sick from COVID-19.

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Dementia or other neurological conditions

Having neurological conditions, such as dementia, can make you more likely to get very sick from COVID-19.

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Diabetes (type 1 or type 2)

Having either type 1 or type 2 diabetes can make you more likely to get very sick from COVID-19.

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Disabilities

People with some types of disabilities may be more likely to get very sick from COVID-19 because of underlying medical conditions, living in congregate settings, or systemic health and social inequities, including:

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Heart conditions

Having heart conditions such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, cardiomyopathies, and possibly high blood pressure (hypertension) can make you more likely to get very sick from COVID-19.

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HIV infection

Having HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) can make you more likely to get very sick from COVID-19.

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Immunocompromised condition or weakened immune system

Some people are immunocompromised or have a weakened immune system because of a medical condition or a treatment for a condition. This includes people who have cancer and are on chemotherapy, or who have had a solid organ transplant, like a kidney transplant or heart transplant, and are taking medication to keep their transplant. Other people have to use certain types of medicines for a long time, like corticosteroids, that weaken their immune system. Such long-term uses can lead to secondary or acquired immunodeficiency. Other people have a weakened immune system because of a life-long condition. For example, some people inherit problems with their immune system. One example is called Primary immunodeficiency. Being immunocompromised can make you more likely to get very sick from COVID-19 or be sick for a longer period of time.

People who are immunocompromised or are taking medicines that weaken their immune system may not be protected even if they are up to date on their vaccines. Talk with your healthcare provider about wearing a mask in a medium COVID-19 Community Level and what additional precautions may be necessary in medium or high COVID-19 Community Levels.

After completing the primary vaccination series, some people who are moderately or severely immunocompromised should get an additional primary dose and a booster. Because the immune response following COVID-19 vaccination may differ in people who are moderately or severely immunocompromised, specific guidance has been developed.

COVID-19 Preventive Medication (Pre-exposure prophylaxis)

EVUSHELDTM is a medicine that can help protect you from getting COVID-19. You may be eligible for EVUSHELDTM every 6 months if you:

  • Are moderately or severely immunocompromised and may not mount an adequate immune response to COVID-19 vaccination OR have a history of severe allergic reactions to COVID-19 vaccines, and
  • Do not currently have COVID-19 and have not recently had close contact with someone with COVID-19, and
  • Are an adult or adolescent ages 12 years and older weighing at least 88 pounds (40 kg)

EVUSHELDTM contains different antibodies and is given by your healthcare provider before you are exposed or test positive for COVID-19. EVUSHELDTM may offer less protection against certain strains of the Omicron variant. Talk to your healthcare provider to find out if this option is right for you. Even if you receive EVUSHELDTM, taking multiple prevention steps, such as wearing a high-quality mask or respirator and improving ventilation, can provide additional layers of protection from COVID-19. Additionally, you should undergo testing and seek medical attention if you develop symptoms of COVID-19, as well as start treatment for COVID-19 as appropriate.

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Mental health conditions

Having mood disorders, including depression, and schizophrenia spectrum disorders can make you more likely to get very sick from COVID-19.

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Overweight and obesity

Overweight (defined as a body mass index (BMI) is 25 kg/m2 or higher, but under 30 kg/m2), obesity (BMI is  30 kg/m2 or higher, but under 40 kg/m2), or severe obesity (BMI is  40 kg/m2 or higher), can make you more likely to get very sick from COVID-19. The risk of severe illness from COVID-19 increases sharply with higher BMI.

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Physical inactivity

People who do little or no physical activity are more likely to get very sick from COVID-19 than those who are physically active. Being physically active is important to being healthy. Get more information on physical activity and health, physical activity recommendations, how to become more active, and how to create activity-friendly communities:

Pregnancy

Pregnant and recently pregnant people (for at least 42 days following end of pregnancy) are more likely to get very sick from COVID-19 compared with non-pregnant people.

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Sickle cell disease or thalassemia

Having hemoglobin blood disorders like sickle cell disease or thalassemia (inherited red blood cell disorders) can make you more likely to get very sick from COVID-19.

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Smoking, current or former

Being a current or former cigarette smoker can make you more likely to get very sick from COVID-19. If you currently smoke, quit. If you used to smoke, don’t start again. If you’ve never smoked, don’t start.

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Solid organ or blood stem cell transplant

Having had a solid organ or blood stem cell transplant, which includes bone marrow transplants, can make you more likely to get very sick from COVID-19.

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Stroke or cerebrovascular disease

Having cerebrovascular disease, such as having a stroke which affects blood flow to the brain, can make you more likely to get very sick from COVID-19.

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Substance use disorders

Having a substance use disorder (such as alcohol, opioid, or cocaine use disorder) can make you more likely to get very sick from COVID-19.

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Tuberculosis

Having tuberculosis (TB) can make you more likely to get very sick from COVID-19.

Get more information:

Additional Information on Children and Teens

People of all ages, including children, can get very sick from COVID-19. Children with underlying medical conditions are at increased risk for getting very sick compared to children without underlying medical conditions.

Current evidence suggests that children with medical complexity, with genetic, neurologic, or metabolic conditions, or with congenital heart disease can be at increased risk for getting very sick from COVID-19. Like adults, children with obesity, diabetes, asthma or chronic lung disease, sickle cell disease, or who are immunocompromised can also be at increased risk for getting very sick from COVID-19. Check out COVID-19 Vaccines for Children and Teens for more information on vaccination information for children.

Actions You Can Take

It is important to protect yourself and others by taking COVID-19 prevention actions:

  • Stay up to date with your COVID-19 vaccines
  • Improve ventilation
  • Get tested if you have symptoms
  • Follow recommendations for what to do if you have been exposed
  • Stay home if you have suspected or confirmed COVID-19
  • Seek treatment if you have COVID-19 and are at high risk of getting very sick
  • Avoid contact with people who have suspected or confirmed COVID-19
  • Wear a mask or respirator
  • Increase space and distance

Please contact your state, tribal, local, or territorial health department for more information on COVID-19 vaccination in your area. It is also important for people with medical conditions and their healthcare providers to work together and manage those conditions carefully and safely. Stay up to date with your COVID-19 vaccines. If you have a medical condition, the following are actions you can take based on your medical conditions and other risk factors.

Build Your Personal COVID-19 Plan

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Put together your COVID-19 plan so you have all the information you need on hand if you get sick with COVID-19. Download, edit and save, and share your plan with your family, friends, and healthcare provider.

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Seek care when needed

  • Call your healthcare provider if you have any concerns about your medical conditions or if you get sick and think that you may have COVID-19. Discuss steps you can take to manage your health and risks. If you need emergency help, call 911 right away.
  • Do not delay getting care for your medical condition because of COVID-19. Emergency departments, urgent care, clinics, and your healthcare provider have infection prevention plans to help protect you from getting COVID-19 if you need care.

Continue medications and preventive care

  • Continue your medicines and do not change your treatment plan without talking to your healthcare provider.
  • Have at least a 30-day supply of prescription and non-prescription medicines. Talk to a healthcare provider, insurer, or pharmacist about getting an extra supply (i.e., more than 30 days) of prescription medicines, if possible, to reduce your trips to the pharmacy.
  • Follow your current treatment plan (e.g., Asthma Action Plan, dialysis schedule, blood sugar testing, nutrition, and exercise recommendations) to keep your medical condition(s) under control.
  • When possible, keep your appointments (e.g., vaccinations and blood pressure checks) with your healthcare provider. Check with your healthcare provider about safety precautions for office visits and ask about telemedicine or virtual healthcare appointment options.
  • Learn about stress and coping. You may feel increased stress during this pandemic. Fear and anxiety can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions. It can be helpful to talk with a professional like a counselor, therapist, psychologist, or psychiatrist. Ask your primary care provider if you would like to speak with a professional. Getting regular exercise and being physically active is also a great way to reduce stress.

Accommodate dietary needs and avoid triggers

Additional Resources

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Don’t Delay: Test Soon and Treat Early

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