CDC recommends as many as four COVID-19 shots within six months for some immunocompromised patients

( The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is now recommending those with compromised immune systems receive a total of four COVID vaccination shots over the course of as little as 140 days.

In its updated guidance released on February 11, the CDC suggested people who are moderately or severely immunocompromised as well as those taking immunosuppressants get the primary course of either the Moderna or Pfizer shots followed by a booster 28 days later. These immunocompromised patients should then get a second booster shot as soon as three months after the first booster.

In short, the CDC wants those with weakened immune systems to receive a total of 4 COVID shots in less than six months.

However, the CDC does not recommend this same guidance for children ages 5 to 11. Children ages 12 to 17 should only receive the primary and booster shots of the Pfizer vaccine.

According to the CDC, shortening the time between doses will bolster the protection for those with compromised immune systems.

CDC health education specialist, Elisha Hall told the agency’s vaccine advisory committee that the decision to reduce the time between doses was made “out of an abundance of caution.”

The immunocompromised may not be as well protected if they don’t get an additional booster shot, Hall told the committee, especially in light of the loss of protection over time and the high transmissibility of the Omicron variant.

Some healthcare providers, including the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, have already started following the CDC’s new guidelines for immunocompromised patients.

Healthcare providers argue that the new guidelines will better protect breakout cases of coronavirus among those with weakened immune systems who are already at greater risk for severe illness and death.