Eastern Health Offers Third COVID-19 Vaccine Dose to Moderately to Severely Immunocompromised Individuals

September 16, 2021 – St. John’s, NL: Eastern Health is now offering a third COVID-19 vaccine dose to individuals who are moderately to severely immunocompromised, including those receiving immunosuppressive therapies who may have a lower immune response to COVID-19 vaccines compared to the general population.  

Based on emerging evidence, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) now recommends that individuals who are moderately or severely immunocompromised should receive: 

  • three doses of an authorized mRNA vaccine if they have not yet been immunized; or 
  • an additional dose of an authorized mRNA vaccine if they have previously received a one or two dose primary series, including those who received a mixed vaccine schedule.

For individuals who have already received a one dose or two dose primary series, the minimum interval between the last COVID-19 vaccine received and the additional dose is 28 days. 

Individuals who are moderately to severely immunocompromised, including those receiving immunosuppressive therapies, can have an increased immune response after receiving an additional dose of an mRNA vaccine. NACI has identified individuals who are moderately to severely immunocompromised as those with the following conditions:  

Active treatment for solid tumour or hematologic malignancies;

  • Receipt of solid-organ transplant and taking immunosuppressive therapy;
  • Receipt of chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-T-cell therapy or hematopoietic stem cell transplant (within twoyears of transplantation or taking immunosuppression therapy); 
  • Moderate to severe primary immunodeficiency (e.g., DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome);
  • Stage 3 or advanced untreated HIV infection and those with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome;or, 
  • Active treatment with the following categories of immunosuppressive therapies: anti-B cell therapies (monoclonal antibodies targeting CD19, CD20 and CD22), high-dose systemic corticosteroids (The Canadian Immunization Guide defines high dose steroids treatment as prednisone equivalent of ≥ 2 mg/kg/day or 20 mg/day if weight > 10 kg, for ≥ 14 days), alkylating agents, antimetabolites, or tumor-necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitors and other biologic agents that are significantly immunosuppressive.  

Individuals who are moderately to severely immunocompromised may receive a COVID vaccine at a vaccine clinic, a participating pharmacy or physician’s office. To book an appointment at a clinic located throughout the Eastern Health region, please visit www.gov.nl.ca/covid-19/vaccine/gettheshot/The public is reminded that they should not schedule an appointment for a vaccine if they are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19. Instead, they should complete a COVID-19 Assessment by clicking here. 

Even after an additional dose, individuals who are immunocompromised may still have reduced protection. Therefore, it is recommended that these individuals continue to follow recommended personal public health measures and that their close contacts, including household contacts and health-care workers, receive a COVID-19 vaccine to help to protect the immunosuppressed individual. 

For more information on COVID-19 vaccines, please visit Health Canada or the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador’s vaccine information sheet found at www.gov.nl.ca/covid-19/vaccine/files/COVID-19-Vaccine-Information-Sheet-May-3.pdf.   

Clinic locations throughout the region can be found on Eastern Health’s website at easternhealth.ca/covid19/vaccine/. 

For more information on offering the additional dose for immunocompromised individuals, please visit the Provincial Government website at www.gov.nl.ca/covid-19/vaccine/gettheshot/ or the National Advisory Committee on Immunization statement: Additional Dose of COVID-19 Vaccine in Immunocompromised Individuals Following a 1- or 2-Dose Primary Series. 

For up-to-date information on the COVID-19 pandemic, please visit www.gov.nl.ca/covid-19. 

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Last updated: 2021-09-16