COVID-19 Update – August 24, 2021

The Delta variant of COVID-19 is continuing to spread rapidly and is much more infectious than the original strain of the virus. The single most important step to take to protect yourself and others is to get vaccinated. The COVID-19 vaccines are safe and highly effective in preventing severe illness and hospitalization, even those from Delta variant.  

The FDA and CDC have now authorized and recommended the administration of a third dose of the mRNA vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna) for certain immunocompromised individuals, which includes individuals on drugs that may suppress their immune response and as of August 18, 2021 the CDC has announced that they will be developing a plan for booster shots in ALL individuals this fall. The current authorization and approval does not apply to people who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, however, there is expected data to be reported on this in the next few weeks.

 The Rocky Mountain MS Center at University of Colorado medical team is encouraging all of our patients taking anti-CD20 disease modifying therapies (Ocrevus, Rituxan and Kesimpta); S1P1 disease modifying therapies (Gilenya and its generics, Mayzent, Zeposia, and Ponvory); fumarate therapies (Tecfidera or dimethyl fumarate and its generics, Bafiertam or monomethyl fumarate, Vumerity or diroximel fumarate); Lemtrada; Clabridine; Aubagio; Cellcept; and Tysabri to get a third vaccination of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, whichever you received for the first two vaccinations, assuming you did not have a severe reaction to either of the first two shots.

CDC experts outlined the following additional guidelines for the third dose of COVID-19 vaccines for immunocompromised people:

  • Get the third dose at least 28 days after receiving the second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.
  • If possible, try to get a third dose of the same vaccine that you received for the first two doses. So, if you got Moderna for your first two doses, try to get Moderna for your third. The same is true for those who received Pfizer.
  • No doctor’s order is needed for the extra dose. In order to get the third dose, patients can “attest” that they have a qualifying condition.
  • The authorization of a third dose of COVID-19 vaccines for immunocompromised people does not apply to people who received the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) single-dose vaccine. Health authorities said they do not have enough data yet to determine whether immunocompromised people who received the J&J vaccine should get an additional vaccine dose.
  • While early research shows that a third dose of a COVID-19 vaccine may give immunocompromised people some additional protection, they still may be at greater risk of getting COVID-19. For people with MS, especially those in high-risk groups and those taking a DMT that may reduce the effectiveness of the vaccines, the safest approach is to continue CDC-recommended protections, including wearing masks and practicing social distancing, after receiving the COVID vaccine.

If you have other clinical questions about the potential use of a third shot vaccine booster, please contact your provider team at 720-848-2080 to set up a brief telehealth visit.

We will be performing a study looking at vaccine responsiveness before and after the third booster. This will help us understand the impact of the third booster in our immunosuppressed populations. If you are interested in potentially participating, please call 303-724-4644 and leave your name and contact info.

For information about scheduling your third dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine: