People with pulmonary hypertension may be eligible to receive a booster shot of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine six months after receiving their initial two-dose series. Additionally, they may be eligible for a third dose of Pfizer or Moderna within 28 days of their second dose.
On Sept. 24, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended booster shots of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at least six months after a second dose in the following groups:
The CDC recommendations state that people ages 18 to 49 with underlying medical conditions and people ages 18 to 64 who are at risk of COVID-19 exposure due to their work or living arrangements may receive a booster shot of the Pfizer vaccine, based on their individual benefits and risks.
The CDC’s list of underlying medical conditions includes chronic lung conditions like pulmonary hypertension. Other conditions include heart disease, diabetes, and current or former smoking.
A Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine booster may be administered at least six months after a person has received a second dose of the vaccine. People generally develop adequate immunity to COVID-19 following the two-dose treatment. However, that immunity can decrease over time, which a booster can address.
The CDC and U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have not released booster recommendations about the Moderna vaccine or the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Both companies have submitted data on booster shots to the FDA for review.
On Aug. 12, the FDA amended the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines’ emergency-use authorizations to allow a third vaccine dose at least 28 days after the second dose for certain immunocompromised individuals.
Individuals defined as immunocompromised include:
A third dose of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine may be recommended for those who did not develop an adequate immune response after the two-dose vaccination series.
The FDA and CDC have not released guidance about additional doses for immunocompromised people who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Some people with PH may be considered immunocompromised, according to the FDA criteria, such as those who have received a lung transplant. People with pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) may qualify as immunocompromised if their PAH is associated with a condition that compromises immunity. That may include an HIV infection or an autoimmune disease treated with drugs that are considered immunosuppressive.
Individuals with PH may also be determined to be immunocompromised under the FDA criteria depending on comorbid health conditions such as cancer.
The Pulmonary Hypertension Association has voiced support for the CDC’s recommendations for vaccination. Additionally, the International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation said in a statement that it encourages immunization in patients with advanced heart or lung disease or in those awaiting or after cardiothoracic transplantation.
If you have pulmonary hypertension, talk to your doctor about whether you qualify to receive a Moderna or Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine booster or third dose Pfizer’s vaccine, or about any questions related to COVID-19 vaccination.