People with weakened immune systems (immunocompromise)

People with immunocompromise includes those who have a medical condition or are taking medications that weaken their immune system. People with immunocompromise, including those living with HIV, have a higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19, including a higher risk of severe illness and death.

The Australian Government strongly recommends people with immunocompromise receive a COVID-19 vaccine. COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca does not behave like a ‘live vaccine’. The adenovirus carrier has been modified so that it cannot replicate or spread to other cells, and it cannot cause infection. It is safe in people with immunocompromise.

Clinical trials for COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca did not include people with immunocompromised but many people with such conditions have now been vaccinated worldwide. The results of a clinical trial of COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca given to people with stable HIV infection are expected soon. We do not know if COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca is as effective in people with immunocompromise compared to the rest of the population. It is possible that it might be less effective, and so it is important to continue other preventative measures such as physical distancing after vaccination.

For more information on use of the vaccine in immunocompromised see: COVID-19 vaccination decision guide for people with immunocompromised.