While COVID-19 vaccines haven’t stopped the epidemic, they have aided in fighting the virus. Until March 2022, vaccinations have has prevented the hospitalization of 17 million people and 2 million deaths within the United States alone, according to the Commonwealth Fund.
However, vaccines do not guarantee equal protection for everyone. If you’re part of approximately 3 percent of people who are severely or moderately immune compromised, your body might not be producing high levels of immune protective antibodies as a result of immunization, making you susceptible to serious illness or hospitalization and possibly death.
Furthermore, certain COVID-19 medicines that were used to combat the earlier forms of Omicron are not effective against the current dominant subvariants BQ.1 as well as BQ.1.1.
What advice do the experts who work with patients with immunocompromised conditions currently suggest for fighting COVID-19 infections hospitalization, COVID-19 infection, and serious illness? Continue reading for the most current advice.
Who Is Immunocompromised?
“When we say someone is immunocompromised, generally what it means is the person isn’t able to mount a good immune response to the [COVID-19] vaccine for whatever reason,” says Shireesha Dhanireddy, MD professor of medicine within the division of allergies and infectious diseases, and an infectious disease specialist at UW Medicine in Seattle.
“That could be due to an underlying medical problem that makes the immune system weaker, or a medication that weakens or suppresses the immune system,” she adds.
There’s a variety of people that are immunocompromised as doctor. Dhanireddy says. “Usually, these individuals would be under the care of a provider who would be managing their chronic condition.”
Based on the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center suggests that you could be considered to be immunocompromised if:
Immunocompromised People Have Unique COVID-19 Vaccine and Booster Needs
The recommendations for vaccinations for those with immunocompromised are distinct due to both research studies in the laboratory and actual data having proven that these people are less likely to respond to vaccination, according to Dhanireddy.
A meta-analysis that was published in December 2021 by The Journal of Infection discovered that even though COVID-19 vaccines worked against symptoms of COVID-19 for immunocompromised patients, however, the antibodies they produced were lower than those in those with normal immune systems.
The majority of people will receive two doses of Pfizer’s BioNTech or Moderna vaccine in their primary series, patients with an immune disorder must receive three according to the current public-health guidelines. “Studies have noted that there was very low response in terms of antibodies after two doses for immunocompromised individuals, particularly in solid organ transplant patients, but a third primary dose led to a much more significant response,” Dhanireddy declares.
What’s Happening With the Preventive Drug Evusheld?
Evusheld (tixagevimab and cilgavimab) is a monoclonal antibody (lab-produced antibody) treatment that is designed to stop COVID-19-related infection in immunocompromised and vulnerable people. This treatment was granted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted an emergency use authorization (EUA) in December of 2021.
EvoShield is an injectable drug that is extremely effective in fighting infection caused by the BA.5 subvariant which is still in circulation in significant amounts in certain areas of the United States and around the world. However, it does not provide much defense from BQ.1 and BQ.1.1 according to Bender Ignacio.
Providers make their decisions based on the decision to prescribe Evusheld by analyzing the most current data available about which subvariants in the omicron range dominate in their respective areas she describes.
“Even if you are taking Evusheld, if you’re immunocompromised, you need to take additional precautions to avoid getting infected with COVID,” Bender Ignacio advises.
COVID-19 Treatments Can Reduce the Risk of Severe Illness and Hospitalization
People with a compromised immune system must know about three drugs that help prevent moderate or mild COVID-19 from becoming more severe: Paxlovid, Lagevrio (menu peramivir), and Veklury (redeliver).
The treatments appear to have an effect on BQ.1 and BQ.1.1 in addition to BA.5 According to Bender Ignacio. However, a fourth drug monoclonal antibody treatment, bebtelo viable, has no effect against BQs (as the BQs’ are often called) which has prompted the FDA to withdraw its approval for the drug.
Paxlovid The oral medicine combines two generic medications, nirmatrelvir, and Ritonavir. The FDA has granted it emergency authorization in December 2021 and the National Institutes of Health has given it the top priority over the other treatments available to patients suffering from COVID-19 disease.