Organ Transplantation and COVID-19

Last updated: February 10, 2022

If you have had an organ transplant, you have a higher risk of developing more serious illness from COVID-19.

Your physician can review your medical record to help you understand your personal risk. More information about organ transplantation and COVID-19 is available from the National Kidney Foundation or the American Society of Transplantation.

Here are answers to some common questions you may have. This information might change as we learn more about COVID-19. If you have other questions, talk to your physician.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you have had an organ transplant, you are more likely to get seriously ill from COVID-19.

The virus causes intense infection and inflammation in the body. This can place more stress on the body for people who have had an organ transplant and weaken the ability to fight an infection like COVID-19. Also, if you are taking immunosuppressant medication, your immune system is less able to fight the virus.

If you are taking immunosuppressive therapy, you are considered to be moderately to severely immunocompromised and may be more likely to get COVID-19. Additionally, you are more likely to transmit the virus that causes COVID-19 to household contacts.

Everyone should follow CDC guidelines to help prevent COVID-19 exposure and infection. We urge you to:

  • Get vaccinated.
  • Wear a mask.
  • Physically distance.
  • Exercise.
  • Eat well.
  • Reduce stress.
  • Get plenty of sleep.

Keep at least a 2-week supply of your medications. If you need a refill, call your physician or send a request through MyNM. While refilling your prescription, you can limit exposure to COVID-19 by using a mail-order service or drive-thru pharmacy. Or, have a caregiver pick up your medication.

The CDC recommends that people who are moderately to severely immunocompromised receive an additional primary dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, often called a “third dose.” This includes people who have received a solid-organ transplant and those taking immunosuppressive therapy. Consult your physician about getting a third dose, which is different than a booster dose. The third dose is crucial to protecting yourself from serious illness with COVID-19.

If you have had a transplant, you are eligible and should get a “fourth dose,” which is considered your booster dose. You should get a fourth dose about five months after your third dose.

If you have COVID-19 symptoms such as a fever, cough, sore throat or shortness of breath, you should be tested for COVID-19. Learn about your testing options in the COVID-19 Resource Center at If you test positive or have questions about testing, please call the transplant team at 312.695.8900 (TTY: 711), and we will provide guidance.

The answer depends on many factors. Follow guidelines from the CDC. If you have additional questions about exposure, please call the transplant team at 312.695.8900 (TTY: 711), and we can provide further guidance.