x

Health

Will COVID-19 Vaccines Work if I Have a Weak Immune System?

Will COVID-19 vaccines work if I have a weak immune system?

Probably not as well as they do in healthy people, but the shots should offer some protection.

It's why vaccinations are still recommended for people with immune systems weakened by disease or certain medications. It's also important that your family, friends and caregivers get vaccinated, which will make it far less likely that they pass on the virus. 

About 3% of U.S. adults have weakened immune systems. Among them are people with HIV or AIDS, transplant recipients, some cancer patients and people with autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease and lupus.

COVID-19 shots weren't studied in large numbers of people with weak immune systems. But limited data and experience with flu and pneumonia vaccines suggest they won't work as well as they do in others. That means people with weakened immune systems should keep taking precautions like wearing masks and avoiding large crowds. 

"It's prudent to use all the precautions you were using before you were vaccinated," said Dr. Ajit Limaye, a transplant expert at University of Washington Medicine in Seattle. 

Although most cancer patients should get vaccinated as soon as they can, people getting stem cell transplant or CAR T-cell therapy should wait at least three months after treatment to get vaccinated, according to guidance  from the National Comprehensive Cancer Network. That delay will make sure the vaccines work as well as they can.

For transplant recipients, researchers are looking at whether an extra dose  might make the vaccines more effective. 

French guidelines recommend a third COVID-19 dose  for the immunocompromised, including organ recipients. Israel recently began giving an extra dose of the Pfizer vaccine to transplant patients and others with weak immune systems. Some U.S. transplant recipients seek out a third dose on their own in hopes of more protection even though the federal government hasn't authorized extra vaccinations. 

RELATED

Top Stories

General News

FALMOUTH, MA – The police in Falmouth have identified the victim in an accident involving a car plunging into the ocean on February 20, NBC10 Boston reported.

General News

NEW YORK – Meropi Kyriacou, the new Principal of The Cathedral School in Manhattan, was honored as The National Herald’s Educator of the Year.

General News

PHILADELPHIA – The Federation of Hellenic Societies of Philadelphia and Greater Delaware Valley announced that the Evzones, the Presidential Guard of Greece will be participating in the Philadelphia Greek Independence Day Parade on March 20.

Video

Mission…to Alonnisos, a TNH Documentary

O oceanic you sing and sail White on your body and yellow on your chimeneas For you're tired of the filthy waters of the harbors You who loved the distant Sporades You who lifted the tallest flags You who sail clear through the most dangerous caves Hail to you who let yourself be charmed by the sirens Hail to you for never having been afraid of the Symplegades (Andreas Empeirikos)   What traveler has not been fascinated by the Greek islands, drawn by the Sirens’ song of a traveler’s dreams? TNH and our video show ‘Mission’ marked the change of the season by transporting viewers into the heart of summer.

Enter your email address to subscribe

Provide your email address to subscribe. For e.g. abc@xyz.com

You may unsubscribe at any time using the link in our newsletter.