For many immunocompromised people, the COVID-19 pandemic has been a living nightmare—and the omicron variant may make life even more unsettling. Authorities and drug manufacturers alike have warned that the protection conferred from being fully vaccinated may not be sufficient to ward off the omicron variant in certain immunocompromised groups, deepening fears of what infections might look like for the more than 7 million Americans with weakened immune systems. Being fully vaccinated means you’ve either had two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech/Moderna vaccines plus a booster, or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine plus a booster.
With cases surging again, some people with weakened immune systems have been skirting guidelines in order to receive unapproved vaccine doses, an effort to bolster immunity and avoid infection, The New York Times reports. So-called off-label dosing has been going on for some time, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reporting over the summer that as many as 1.1 million people in the U.S. received unauthorized extra doses of the vaccine.