The study, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, looked at people taking immunosuppressive medications to treat chronic inflammatory diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease and rheumatoid arthritis.

Since a minimum level of antibodies needed for protection hasn’t been established, it has been difficult to say whether the levels achieved by people on immune suppressing drugs are high enough to protect them from severe COVID-19, the researchers say. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently recommended that people taking immunosuppressants receive a third dose of the vaccine to strengthen their immune responses.

Nonetheless, the discovery that COVID-19 vaccination elicits a response in people with compromised immune systems—even if not quite as strong a response—is encouraging news for a population that faces a high risk of serious illness.

“Some of our patients have been hesitant about getting vaccinated, which is unfortunate because they are at increased risk of having more severe cases of COVID-19 if they happen to get infected, compared to those not taking immune suppressing drugs,” says co-senior author Alfred Kim, an assistant professor of medicine at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis who treats patients with autoimmune conditions at Barnes-Jewish Hospital.

Read the full article about immunocompromised individuals by Tamara Bhandari at Futurity.