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

About 3% of US 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.

Will COVID-19 immunizations work if my immune system is compromised? Although not as effective as in healthy persons, the shots should provide some protection. It’s why, among people whose immune systems have been impaired by disease or certain drugs, immunizations are still recommended. It’s also critical to have your family, friends, and carers vaccinated, as this will make it much less likely that they will spread the illness to others.

COVID-19 vaccines were not tested in large groups of persons with compromised immune systems. However, based on limited evidence and experience, flu and pneumonia vaccines are unlikely to function as well in some people as they do in others. People with compromised immune systems should continue to take precautions like wearing masks and avoiding big gatherings.

Dr Ajit Limaye, a transplantation expert at Uc Berkeley Medicine in Seattle, said, “It’s prudent to exercise all the measures you were doing before you were vaccinated.”

Researchers are investigating if adding an extra dose to transplant recipients’ immunizations will improve their effectiveness. The immunocompromised, including organ recipients, should receive a third COVID-19 dose, according to French standards. Transplant patients and those with exhausted immune systems in Israel are now receiving an extra dose of the Pfizer vaccine.