Researchers will focus on the roughly 8 percent of the population with immune disorders such as multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis that cause their immune systems to attack healthy tissue. They will also examine whether stopping immunosuppressive therapy for such patients gives them a better immune response to the shots.
“We are determined to find ways to elicit a protective immune response to the vaccines in this population,” Anthony S. Fauci, director of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in a statement. “This new study is an important step in that direction.”
Officials this month started allowing immunocompromised people, including organ transplant patients, to receive booster shots of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines on the advice of their doctors. Booster shots of those vaccines will become available to the wider public next month under a plan the Biden administration unveiled last week.