Ask the Doctor Question:
With the new authorization for the immunocompromised to be able to get a third COVID-19 booster, do you recommend I get this right away or wait until studies are done on CLL patients to see if a third shot is safe and/or effective for our population? (I’m a 50-year-old CLL patient in Watch and Wait.) I got the Spike protein test a few months ago – had around 746 though I/we don’t know exactly what that means. I’m hesitant because ever since my second Pfizer shot back in April, I’ve been feeling sluggish with my stamina lower so I worry what a third shot might do. Obviously, I don’t want COVID either, so I wondered what your thoughts were and if I should wait a few months, get it now, or what. I understand you are not my personal doctor, so I guess I’m just asking if, in general, you think someone in my position should be running out and getting this booster – or – should wait for more studies to be done on CLL patients re: effectiveness and safety. Since we don’t make antibodies well, I’m wondering if we are like a bucket with a hole in it. You can throw 100 vaccines at us, but the level isn’t going to get higher, yet the long-term effects might wear on us. Thoughts?
Answer: Based on the studies we do know of we are aligning ourselves with both the FDA and CDC at this time in recommending CLL patients get a third booster vaccine. It sounds like you had a very robust response to the first vaccines compared to many other CLL patients who hardly had any, which is great! Although you are right, we still don’t know what number of antibodies equates to protection from COVID. We just put up an article on the Booster that can be found here:
It’s difficult to tell if your symptoms are related to the vaccine or if they could be related to just having CLL in general. The good news for you is that the research for those with CLL that did have any sort of response to the first two vaccines indicate that you should have a great response to the booster. As always talk with your physician, but considering cases are surging and Delta is in our midst right now, we would highly recommend doing all you can to strengthen your defenses right now.
On a different note, we are also highly recommending all CLL patients print out the COVID plan that we just put together and go through it to plan out what you would do should you either have known exposure or actual infection. You can find that information here at the bottom of the page: