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Is it safe for people with HIV to get the COVID-19 vaccine?

for Veterans and the Public

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Is it safe for people with HIV to get the COVID-19 vaccine?

The U.S. vaccine safety system makes sure all vaccines are as safe as possible. COVID-19 vaccines have gone through the same safety tests and meet the same standards as other vaccines. People with HIV were included in clinical trials and data specific to people living with HIV should become available in the future.

People with HIV are part of the group of people with underlying medical conditionsLink will take you outside the VA website. that put them at increased risk for severe COVID-19. People with HIV can receive the COVID-19 vaccine unless they have had a severe or immediate allergic reactionLink will take you outside the VA website. to any of the vaccine ingredients. If you have a weakened immune system, you should also be aware of the potential for reduced immune responses to the vaccine. Continue to take everyday preventive actionsLink will take you outside the VA website. once vaccinated to protect yourself against COVID-19.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) updated the Emergency Use Authorization for the mRNA vaccines (Pfizer-BioNtech and Moderna) to authorize a third vaccine shot for individuals with certain immunocompromising conditions. Following this change, CDC updated its clinical COVID-19 vaccine guidance to recommend that individuals who are moderately to severely immunocompromised, including people with advanced or untreated HIV, who received either of the mRNA vaccines receive a third dose. Many experts consider people with HIV whose CD4 cell count is <200/mm3 or CD4 percentage is 14 or less to have advanced disease. People with HIV who are not receiving treatment for their HIV should start ARVs as soon as possible to protect themselves from HIV complications. In addition to reducing the likelihood of medical complications related to HIV, ARVs is expected to improve the immune response to the COVID-19 vaccine and to protect against severe COVID-19 in people with HIV.