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FAQs related to COVID-19 vaccines for patients with cancer

Should patients with cancer receive the COVID-19 vaccine?

The data on efficacy and safety of COVID-19 vaccination in patients with cancer is limited. However, as patients with cancer are more prone to develop severe form of illness due to COVID-19 infection, the benefits of getting vaccinated are more than the risks.

Should people who have completed their treatment for cancer receive covid-19 vaccine?

Patients who have completed their planned treatment should receive COVID-19 vaccine as soon as it is available to them as long as there are no major allergies.

Should people who are on cancer directed therapy receive COVID-19 vaccine?

Patients who are on cancer directed therapy can receive the vaccine after discussing with their treating oncologist. The oncologist will suggest the suitable time based on the ongoing therapy (surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, or stem cell transplant). Please inform the treating oncologist if you have had any drug allergies in the past.

Which COVID-19 vaccine is the best for patients with cancer?

All the approved vaccines have been shown to be effective. There are no direct comparisons between the available vaccines for efficacy or safety. Therefore,  any vaccine approved for use and available in the vaccination centre is suggested.

Are there any contraindication for COVID-19 vaccine in patients with cancer?

Patients who are allergic to PEG (polyethylene glycol) should not receive the COVID-19 vaccine.  Individuals with a known history of polysorbate-80 allergy (used as excipient in certain chemotherapeutic drugs) should not receive covid-19 vaccine.

Should patients with a previous history of COVID-19 infection be vaccinated?

Yes, patients with cancer who had been infected and recovered from the illness should also receive the COVID-19 vaccine as it will protect from reinfection.

Should the vaccine be given to patients with positive COVID-19 antibodies?

The COVID-19 vaccine should be given to all patients with cancer irrespective of their antibody status. Serological testing should not be used to guide the decision and timing of vaccination.

What are the side effects that may occur after the COVID-19 vaccine?

You may expect some minor side effects like soreness of the shoulder (injection site) for a few days after the vaccination; also, you may have mild fever, tiredness for a day or two after the injection. Serious side effects are extremely rare, but we advise you to consult your doctor in case of any troublesome symptoms.

Source : Tata Memorial Hospital



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