COVID-19 Vaccines for People with Underlying Medical Conditions
NOTICE: FDA expanded the use of a booster shot for COVID-19 vaccines in certain populations and authorized a single booster shot for Moderna and the Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccine. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices is meeting on Thursday, October 21, to discuss its recommendations for COVID-19 booster shots.
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. Learn more about what you can do when you have been fully vaccinated.
If you have questions about getting a COVID-19 vaccine, you should talk to your healthcare provider 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.
Tips for How to Get a COVID-19 Vaccine
- Contact your state or local health department for more information.
- Ask your doctor, pharmacist, or community health center if they plan to provide vaccines and ask them to let you know when vaccines are available.
Information about COVID-19 Vaccines for People with Underlying Medical Conditions
You can help protect yourself and the people around you by getting a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as you can.
- Clinical trials show that COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective in people with underlying medical conditions, including those that place them at increased risk for severe COVID-19 symptoms, compared to people without underlying medical conditions.
- A COVID-19 vaccine cannot make you sick with COVID-19.
- Depending on the kind of COVID-19 vaccine you get, you might need a second shot 3 or 4 weeks after your first shot.
The following groups are eligible to receive a booster shot of Pfizer-BioNTech 6 months after completing their Pfizer-BioNTech vaccination series:
- People aged 65 years and older and adults 50–64 years with underlying medical conditions should get a booster shot of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. The risk of severe illness from COVID-19 increases with age, and can also increase for adults of any age with underlying medical conditions.
- Residents of long-term care settings aged 18 years and older should get a booster shot of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.Because residents in long-term care settings live closely together in group settings and are often older adults with underlying medical conditions, they are at increased risk of infection and severe illness from COVID-19.People aged 18–49 years with underlying medical conditions may get a booster shot of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine based on their individual benefits and risks. Adults aged 18–49 years who have underlying medical conditions are at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19. However, that risk is likely not as high as it would be for adults aged 50 years and older who have underlying medical conditions. People aged 18–49 years who have underlying medical conditions may get a booster shot after considering their individual risks and benefits. This recommendation may change in the future as more data become available.
- People aged 18–64 years at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission because of occupational or institutional setting may get a booster shot of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine based on their individual benefits and risks. Adults aged 18–64 years who work or reside in certain settings (e.g., health care, schools, correctional facilities, homeless shelters) may be at increased risk of being exposed to COVID-19, which could be spreading where they work or reside. Since that risk can vary across settings and based on how much COVID-19 is spreading in a community, people aged 18–64 years who are at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission because of occupational or institutional setting may get a booster shot after considering their individual risks and benefits. This recommendation may change in the future as more data become available.
Vaccination Card and Booster Shots
At your first vaccination appointment, you should have received a vaccination card that tells you which COVID-19 vaccine you received, the date you received it, and where you received it. Bring this vaccination card to your booster dose vaccination appointment.
Booster Shots vs. Additional Doses
A booster shot is administered when a person has completed their vaccine series and protection against the virus has decreased over time. Additional doses are administered to people with moderately to severely compromised immune systems. This additional dose of an mRNA-COVID-19 vaccine is intended to improve immunocompromised people’s response to their initial vaccine series
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.