This statement is provided by the GBS|CIDP Foundation Global Medical Advisory Board. We also encourage you to contact your healthcare provider about whether it would be a good idea for you to have a third COVID19 vaccine dose.
There has been much discussion about third shots or “booster shots” of certain COVID19 vaccines for individuals who are “immunocompromised.” GBS and CIDP and immune-mediated disorders. This means the immune system works incorrectly by attacking components of a person’s nerves (in GBS this occurs on a one-time basis; in CIDP this occurs on a recurring or continuing basis). Individuals with GBS or CIDP are not immunocompromised. “Immunocompromised” or “immunosuppressed” are terms that refer to situations where the immune system does not do its basic job of recognizing and fighting off infections (such as viruses). There is no evidence that persons who have or have had GBS or CIDP are immunocompromised simply on the basis of these disorders.
Some patients with CIDP may be immunocompromised secondary to medications given to them to treat their disease. This may be the case with prednisone or other cortisocteroids. Other medications that can suppress the immune system include Imuran (azathioprine), Cellcept (mycophenolate mofetil, methotrexate, Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), and Rituxan (rituximab). If you are currently taking any of these medications (or have recently taken them) you should speak to your provider about whether you might be a candidate for an additional COVID19 vaccine dose. If you receive plasmapheresis or plasma exchange on a long-term, ongoing basis, you should speak to your provider about this as well.
If you are receiving either of these treatments you are not at increased risk of infection; remember that vaccinations and boosters when given under the direction of your health care provider offer the strongest protection from COVID-19.