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Additional Doses:
COVID-19 Vaccination for People with Weak Immune Systems

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As people with disabilities, many of us have heard information about COVID-19 that can be confusing.

COVID-19 is still a big threat to your health. Getting your vaccine is the best way to protect yourself and other people from getting very sick or even dying from COVID-19. For some people with disabilities, that can mean getting an additional shot.

What is an additional dose?

An additional dose is an extra shot of the COVID-19 vaccine that people with weakened immune systems can get. A weakened immune system means it is harder for your body to fight infections. 

You may have a weakened immune system because of your disability. Or you may have a weakened immune system because of medicine or treatments you take. Your doctor can tell you if you need to get an additional shot. 

Additional doses make your immune system’s response to the COVID-19 vaccine better. An additional shot will bring your antibody response up to the same level as fully vaccinated people who do not have weakened immune systems. Antibodies are what fight the virus and protect your body.

Talk to your doctor if you think you need an additional dose.


Who can get an additional dose? 

If you have a weakened immune system, you may be able to get an additional dose. You should get the same vaccine for all doses in your primary vaccine series.  A primary vaccine series is the required shots that are recommended for everyone to get. 

Talk to your doctor to find out if you need an additional dose. Your doctor may tell you to get an additional dose if you have one of these medical conditions or are getting one of these treatments: 

  • You are getting treatment for cancer 
  • You have advanced or untreated HIV
  • You have received an organ or stem cell transplant
  • You take certain kinds of steroids or other medicines that weaken the immune system 


The staff of the SC Disability Vaccine Access Network are not licensed medical providers. They are unable to offer medical advice about the number of doses you should receive or tell you how the vaccine may affect you or your family


Do I need to get an additional dose?

Getting your COVID-19 vaccine, additional dose, and booster might seem overwhelming. Even though shots can be scary and side effects may be uncomfortable, you will be less likely to get very sick or die from COVID-19 if you get all of the shots you need. 

Talk to your doctor about whether you need an additional shot. Getting all the shots you need will help protect you against COVID-19. After vaccination, you may be able to be more confident about your activities in terms of COVID-19 safety.

Once you get your vaccine and additional shot, you can also sign up for v-safe, the after-vaccination health checker. V-safe provides health check-ins so that you can share with the CDC how you are feeling after you receive your shot. Go to to get started.

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Light blue colored box with a quote inside that reads, 'I got the vaccine because I was at high risk. I have medical issues and live with my sister who is in her 70's and I wanted to protect her.'- Johnnie Horton

The SC Disability Vaccine Access Network can help answer any questions you have and also help schedule your vaccine, additional dose, and booster. Learn more about how to make an appointment at or call us at 1-800-787-6046.

   You can learn more about our past COVID-19 related topics by clicking the links below:

Footer with “SC Disability Vaccine Access Network” and partner logos below. From left to right: Able SC, AccessAbility, Disability Rights South Carolina, Walton Options, UofSC Center for Disability Resources, South Carolina Developmental Disabilities Council.”


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2022, February 17). COVID-19 Vaccines for Moderately or Severely Immunocompromised People. CDC. Retrieved March 1, 2022, from

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2022, January 20). v-safe After Vaccination Health Checker. CDC. Retrieved March 1, 2022, from

Contact our Vaccine Access Helpline at 1-800-787-6046.

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