Additional Dose Information

The Tennessee Department of Health is following CDC recommendations and providing a third dose of the mRNA COVID-19 vaccine (Pfizer and Moderna) to moderately and severely immunocompromised individuals.

Read the Tennessee Department of Health's release here.

"Moderately and severely immunocompromised" individuals are defined as: 

  • Receiving active cancer treatment for tumors or cancers of the blood
  • Received an organ transplant and are taking medicine to suppress the immune system
  • Received a stem cell transplant within the last 2 years or are taking medicine to suppress the immune system
  • Moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (such as DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome)
  • Advanced or untreated HIV infection
  • Active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids or other drugs that may suppress your immune response 

At this time, the FDA/CDC guidance has NOT changed for any other groups than those addressed above above. No decisions have been made on additional/booster doses for the general population.

Key Points from the TN Department of Health:

  • The additional dose should be administered at least 28 days after the completion of the initial mRNA COVID-19 vaccine series.
  • The additional mRNA vaccine dosage should be the same brand as previously administered vaccine.
  • Patients do not need to prove their diagnosis to be eligible for an additional vaccine dose.
  • Due to insufficient data, the amendment for an additional dose does NOT apply to Janssen COVID-19 vaccine or to individuals who received Janssen COVID-19 as a primary series.
  • Individuals should talk with their health care provider about their medical condition, and whether getting an additional dose is appropriate for them.
  • The currently FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccines are not live vaccines and therefore can be safely administered to immunocompromised people.
  • The mRNA COVID-19 vaccines can be co-administered with other non-live vaccines such as the high-dose seasonal influenza vaccine and there is no 14-day waiting period.
  • "Additional dose" versus "booster dose" definition:
    • Additional dose or "third" dose: administration of an additional vaccine dose when the initial immune response following a primary vaccine series is likely to be insufficient. Currently, immunocompromised individuals are the only population that a third dose is recommended for.
    • Booster dose: a dose of vaccine when the initial sufficient immune response to a primary vaccine series is likely to have waned over time. The need for and timing of a COVID-19 booster dose has not been approved yet, but will likely be recommended to get 8 months after a second dose.