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Vaccine Considerations for People with Underlying Medical Conditions

Vaccine Considerations for People with Underlying Medical Conditions

Everyone 16 years of age and older is now eligible to get a COVID-19 vaccinationGet a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as you can. Widespread vaccination is a critical tool to help stop the pandemic.

COVID-19 vaccines may be administered to most people with underlying medical conditions. This information aims to help people in the following groups make an informed decision about receiving a COVID-19 vaccine.

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If you have questions about getting COVID-19 vaccine, you should talk to your healthcare providers for advice. Inform your vaccination provider about all your allergies and health conditions.

People with underlying medical conditions at increased risk from COVID-19

Adults of any age with certain underlying medical conditions are at increased risk for severe illness from the virus that causes COVID-19. COVID-19 vaccines are recommended for and can be administered to most people with underlying medical conditions.

The list of high-risk medical conditions that put people at increased risk for severe COVID-19-associated illness is updated routinely as new data become available.

People who have weakened immune systems

People with HIV and those with weakened immune systems due to other illnesses or medication might be at increased risk for severe COVID-19. They may receive a COVID-19 vaccine. However, they should be aware of the limited safety data:

  • Information about the safety of COVID-19 vaccines for people who have weakened immune systems in this group is not yet available
  • People living with HIV were included in clinical trials, though safety data specific to this group are not yet available at this time

People with weakened immune systems should also be aware of the potential for reduced immune responses to the vaccine, as well as the need to continue following current guidance to protect themselves against COVID-19.

People who have autoimmune conditions

People with autoimmune conditions may receive a COVID-19 vaccine. However, they should be aware that no data are currently available on the safety of COVID-19 vaccines for people with autoimmune conditions. People from this group were eligible for enrollment in some of the clinical trials. More information about vaccine clinical trials can be found below.

People who have previously had Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS)

People who have previously had GBS may receive a COVID-19 vaccine. To date, no cases of GBS have been reported following vaccination in participants in the mRNA COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials. One case of GBS was reported in a vaccinated participant in the Johnson & Johnson Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine clinical trial (compared to one GBS case among those who received placebo). With few exceptions, the independent Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) general best practice guidelines for immunization do not include a history of GBS as a precaution to vaccination with other vaccines.

People who have previously had Bell’s palsy

People who have previously had Bell’s palsy may receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Cases of Bell’s palsy were reported following vaccination in participants in the COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials. However, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not consider these to be more than the rate expected in the general population. They have not concluded these cases were caused by vaccination.

After vaccination, follow current guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19

After you are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, you may be able to start doing some things that you had stopped doing because of the pandemic. Learn more about what you can do when you have been fully vaccinated.

People with underlying medical conditions included in the COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials

Vaccine manufacturers report information from clinical trials, including demographics and underlying medical conditions of people who participated in COVID-19 vaccine trials. You can find additional information on COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials at clinicaltrials.govexternal icon, a database of privately and publicly funded clinical studies conducted around the world.

Find a COVID-19 Vaccine: Search vaccines.gov, text your zip code to 438829, or call 1-800-232-0233 to find locations near you.