COVID Vaccine Safety in Cancer Patients


Educational Blog from One Cancer Survivor to Another

I hope you will find this post helpful. It was created in response to many inquiries about the different types of vaccinations that were made in the past. As well as which types of vaccines are now used to create the COVID vaccines.

And here is a link in which Dr. Fauci comments on COVID vaccine safety for cancer patients – several key quotes of this article are pasted below (but please read the entire link for more details):

Safety of COVID vaccine in cancer patients:

Live vaccine should be avoided in immunocompromised patients, and currently, live SARS-CoV-2 vaccines are only being developed in India and Turkey.

“I am 100% with Fauci. Everyone should get the vaccine, even if it may not be as effective,” he said. “I would treat it exactly like the flu vaccines that we recommend folks get every year.”

Given the lack of data, the FDA has said that “it will be something that providers will need to consider on an individual basis,” and that individuals should consult with physicians to weigh the potential benefits and potential risks.

The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices has said that clinicians need more guidance on whether to use the vaccine in pregnant or breastfeeding women, the immunocompromised, or those who have a history of allergies. The CDC itself has not yet released its formal guidance on vaccine use.

Effectiveness of COVID vaccine in cancer patients:

Philip D Bonomi, MD, a professor of medical oncology at Rush Medical College, Chicago, explained that one way to ensure a more optimal response to the vaccine would be to wait until the patient has finished chemotherapy. “The vaccine can be offered at that time, and in the meantime, they can take other steps to avoid infection,” he said. “If they are very immunosuppressed, it isn’t worth trying to give the vaccine.”

Cancer patients should be encouraged to stay as healthy as possible, and to wear masks and social distance. “It’s a comprehensive approach. Eat healthy, avoid alcohol and tobacco, and exercise. [These things] will help boost the immune system,” Bonomi said. “Family members should be encouraged to get vaccinated, which will help them avoid infection and exposing the patient.”

Jim Boonyaratanakornkit, MD, PhD, an infectious disease specialist who cares for cancer patients at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, agreed. “Giving a vaccine right after a transplant is a futile endeavor,” he said. “We need to wait 6 months to have an immune response.”

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