COVID vaccines for people with cancer
Full article: https://www.nccn.org/covid-19/pdf/COVID-19_Vaccination_Guidance_V1.0.pdf
Should cancer patients get a COVID vaccine? The National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) and the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) provide guidance for people with cancer. These experts recommend that most cancer patients get vaccinated as soon as the vaccine is offered (unless they are allergic to a vaccine component). Cancer patients who have had recent surgery may delay vaccination a few days after surgery. Those with a suppressed immune system are advised to delay getting the vaccine until they’re healthy enough to do so. (2/1/21)
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- All people ages 16 and older (Pfizer vaccine) and people 18 and older (Moderna vaccine) should be vaccinated unless contraindicated (e.g., known allergic reaction to a vaccine component).
- If you are allergic to PEG or polysorbate, you should not get an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine.
- If you have had a severe allergic reaction to any ingredient in an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, you should not get either of the currently available mRNA COVID-19 vaccines.
- If you had a severe allergic reaction after getting the first dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, the CDC recommends that you should not get the second dose. A severe allergic reaction includes symptoms such as hives, swelling, or wheezing (respiratory distress) within four hours of being vaccinated.
- If you have a history of severe allergic reactions that are not related to vaccines or injectable medications—such as food, pet, venom, environmental or latex allergies—get vaccinated.
- If you have had an allergic reaction to a vaccine or an injectable therapy for another disease, ask your doctor if you should get a COVID-19 vaccine. Your doctor will help you decide if it is safe for you to be vaccinated.
- NOTE: The Moderna and Pfizer mRNA vaccines do NOT contain egg, latex or preservatives.
- You should be vaccinated regardless of whether you have already had a COVID-19 infection.
- If you were treated with monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma for COVID-19 symptoms, you should wait 90 days before getting a COVID-19 vaccine.
- If you are pregnant or breastfeeding and you are in a higher-risk group (e.g., essential healthcare workers), you may choose to be vaccinated. Data on COVID vaccine in women who are pregnant or breastfeeding is limited. However, based on how mRNA vaccines work, experts believe that they are unlikely to pose a specific risk for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
- If you have a compromised immune system, you may still get a COVID-19 vaccination (if you have no other contraindications). The safety profile and effectiveness in immunocompromised populations is unknown. You may have a reduced immune response.
- If you have an autoimmune condition, you may receive an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine.
You may want to use the voluntary smartphone-based tool called V-safe created by the CDC. The V-safe app uses text messaging and web surveys to check in with people who have been vaccinated:
- to identify potential side effects after COVID-19 vaccination
- to provide second-dose reminders
- to report a significant health impact following COVID-19 vaccination by live phone call
For more information, visit: www.cdc.gov/vsafe.
Questions To Ask Your Health Care Provider
- Given my cancer treatment, should I get the COVID vaccine when it is offered?
- What are the risks and benefits of the COVID vaccine for me?
- What side effects might I experience with the COVID vaccine?
- I am having surgery for my cancer soon; how long should I wait before getting the COVID vaccine?
- I am on chemotherapy; at what point during my chemotherapy cycle should I get the COVID vaccine?
- Given my cancer treatment, am I considered to be immunosuppressed? How does that affect when I should get the COVID vaccine?
FORCE is a national nonprofit organization, established in 1999. Our mission is to improve the lives of individuals and families affected by adult hereditary cancers.