COVID-19 vaccination for patients with cancer
If you are a patient with cancer, you may have questions about whether the vaccine is recommended for you.
According to guidelines issued by The National Comprehensive Cancer Network, patients with cancer should be prioritized for vaccination (CDC priority group 1b/c) and you should be immunized when vaccination is available to you.
"Given the higher rates of severe COVID-19 infection in cancer patients, the American Society of Clinical Oncology and the CDC recommend that cancer patients strongly consider vaccination against COVID-19," said Dr. Frederick R. Ueland, Director of Oncology Clinical Operations at the UK Markey Cancer Center. "This includes cancer survivors and most patients undergoing cancer treatments."
To register to receive a vaccine, visit ukvaccine.org. You may also call 859-218-0111 and someone will assist you. Your risk group will be determined by the information you provide in this system. Once you are registered and vaccines become available to your risk group, you will receive an invitation to schedule a day and time to receive your vaccination.
Vaccination is recommended for all patients receiving active therapy, but it is important to understand that the data on the safety and efficacy of the vaccine in patients with cancer is limited.
"The COVID-19 vaccination trials did not enroll cancer patients, so the safety profile and effectiveness in immunocompromised patients is not known; however, cancer specialists have considerable experience providing other types of vaccines during cancer therapy," said Dr. Ueland.
You should delay receiving the vaccine for three months after hematopoietic cell transplantation (also known as bone marrow transplant) or engineered cellular therapy (e.g. CAR-T cells) to maximize the efficacy of the vaccine. "Patients who are unsure or severely immunocompromised (bone marrow transplantation, CAR-T therapy) should discuss the risks and benefits with their oncologist before being vaccinated," said Dr. Ueland.
Members of your household, close contacts and caregivers can help protect you by being immunized when a vaccine is available to them.
If you have any questions or concerns about your specific situation, talk to your oncologist or a member of your care team.