More People, Including People Who Are Severely Immunocompromised, Can Now Take COVID-19 Vaccines

When vaccines were first administered here, there were three groups of people who could not get a dose:

  1. Those with a history of anaphylaxis
  2. Teens under 16
  3. Those who are severely immunocompromised

Since then, the first two groups have been cleared to take the vaccine, due to findings supporting its safety.

Now, the third group has been cleared as well.

More People, Including People Who Are Severely Immunocompromised, Can Now Take COVID-19 Vaccines

Severely immunocompromised residents can now take the COVID-19 vaccine, after the expert committee on COVID-19 Vaccination gave the green light yesterday (28 July).

In a statement, the committee said that the data has shown the vaccination is safe for the severely immunocompromised, and that it can protect against infection and severe disease from the coronavirus.

The committee advised some groups of immunocompromised patients to get a memo on their suitability for the vaccine from their treating specialist, which they should present to the vaccination provider before being vaccinated.

This will ensure that they are vaccinated when their immune systems are better able to respond to the vaccination, the committee said.

The listed groups are:

  • Patients with active cancer on treatment (chemotherapy, immunotherapy or radiotherapy), defined as treatment in the last three months or planned in the next two months
  • Patients with recent transplants within the past three months (solid organ or stem cell)
  • Patients on aggressive immunotherapy for non-cancer conditions

Those living with HIV don’t need a memo, however, and can now be vaccinated regardless of their CD4 count.

Severely immunocompromised residents can now get their shots at hospitals or a community vaccination site.

How Does One Become Immunocompromised? 

For those who don’t know, being immunocompromised means having a weakened immune system.

Since your immune system’s job is to fight off both foreign and domestic ‘invaders’, those who are immunocompromised will be more susceptible to diseases and infections.

This can be caused by:

  • diseases such as HIV and Aids which destroy immune cells
  • medical treatments like cancer treatment which weakens the immune system
  • an organ or bone marrow transplant

Effectiveness of Vaccines for the Immunocompromised May Be Reduced

This is why, as the committee said, the effectiveness of vaccines for the immunocompromised may be reduced.

Since their immune system is weakened, it can’t mount a strong defence against the vaccine and subsequently, the virus.

It still greatly reduces their chances of contracting the disease and falling ill, of course.

“As such, it is important for them to take precautions against infection, including avoiding crowded places and practicing good hand hygiene,” the committee said.

“Household members and persons around immunocompromised persons are urged to be vaccinated to reduce the risk of being infected and transmitting COVID-19 to them.”

The committee also announced that recovered COVID-19 cases who have not completed their COVID-19 vaccination can now do so.

They are recommended to get their shot three months after the date of infection, down from the six-month restriction previously in place.

“COVID-19 vaccination is important to protect oneself and those around us from COVID-19 infection and severe disease,” it said.

“With the change in recommendations, more vulnerable persons can be vaccinated. The Expert Committee encourages all eligible persons to be vaccinated, especially with the current surge in local COVID-19 cases.”

Learn more about vaccination and its side effects here:

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Featured Image: BaLL LunLa /