Are you immunocompromised and returning to the office or an in-person workplace? Health experts and officials have issued guidance you should follow in order to protect your health.
The COVID-19 vaccines have been very effective, but no vaccine is completely effective at preventing infection, and CNN notes those with a weakened immune system must contend with the possibility the vaccines may not provide the same level of protection. How well the COVID vaccines work with people who are immunocompromised and whether or not a booster will be needed for these people are still being determined by health officials.
The American Cancer Society is advising those with a weakened immune system from cancer or from the treatment of the disease to adhere to the safety precautions we followed prior to vaccination. Additionally, the CDC recommends that immunocompromised groups like organ transplant recipients, people who are receiving chemotherapy, individuals with certain blood cancers, and those receiving dialysis or taking medications that suppress the immune system also stick with the safety measures.
Individuals -- even if vaccinated for the virus -- who fall into these groups and are returning to in-person work should:
- Wear a mask while in crowds
- Social distance from others
- Practice good handwashing practices
- Avoid large crowds
- Stay away from poorly ventilated spaces
Additionally, the experts suggest speaking with your employer about making a "reasonable accommodation" regarding your workspace and your health. Amber Clayton, from the HR Knowledge Center with the Society for Human Resource Management, tells CNN some immunocompromised people may qualify as having a disability under the Americans with Disability Act and accommodations like continuing to work from home or a staggered in-person schedule could be used to keep your exposure to others limited.
CNN's experts also stress the best defense for people who are immunocompromised -- along with those who are not -- is for as many people to be vaccinated as possible. If you or a loved one have not been vaccinated, please consider getting your vaccine -- it is important for yourself and your community.
Find out where to get your free COVID-19 vaccine, here or search vaccines.gov, text your ZIP code to 438829, or call 1-800-232-0233 to find locations near you in the U.S.