Ask the Doctor Question:
I’m so thankful for this resource. I have been looking for an opinion regarding when to get my third vaccine.I received the Moderna vaccine on 2/25 and 3/25. According to the LLS study, I had a good response at about 2100 at six weeks (early May) post second vaccine. My clinic contacted me to say I am in a group that qualifies to get the booster. I am scheduled for 9/9 but wonder if this might be a little too soon (not yet six months post second vaccine). I do not have any history of autoimmune disease to my knowledge but understand there could be some risk of this. Is my understanding correct?
Thank you for any information to help me think this through. When I saw my oncologist a few weeks back, we discussed getting the third shot six months after my 5/5 report. That was before the recommendation that the general public get one at eight months post second vaccine, or now even some talk of six months.
Answer: CLL Society is encouraging our patient community to follow the CDC/FDA guidelines for immunocompromised individuals which indicate it is extremely important to receive the booster as soon as possible. The eight-month mark does not apply to you because you have CLL. There are many studies ongoing that are trying to (a) find the right “timing” for the booster and (b) figure out what time period evokes the best response. But the bottom line is that of almost all of them we know of, no matter the timing, show a boost in antibody levels even for the immunocompromised.
The bottom line is that no one is yet sure of the absolute best timing, but the eight‑month recommendation by the administration may just be based on the point at which they think they will have enough vaccines available to give to the US population. So, there are other factors (besides the science) that might be playing a role in that specific mention of the eight-months. We are assuming that as of 9/20 when boosters are available to the general public, states are going to take the tiered approach to distribution again and the supply chain might become short of vaccine availability, like we saw earlier this year during the rollout. That would be another reason to make sure you get it before this happens.
All of that said, CLL Society is encouraging all chronic lymphocytic leukemia patients who received the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines to promptly arrange for a booster unless otherwise directed by their healthcare team. You can read more here about CLL Society’s official statement on boosters. Or you can read here about some of the most commonly asked questions we have received surrounding the boosters.