Cancer patients are considered among the groups at risk of infection with the emerging Covid-19 and its complications; With many countries of the world vaccinating their population against the virus, cancer patients who are undergoing treatment sessions are wondering about the possibility of obtaining the Covid-19 vaccine or not?
The answer comes from the American Cancer Society and other leading oncology groups, which say that the Covid-19 vaccination is recommended for patients undergoing active treatment but it is important to consult your physician or healthcare providers to determine the appropriate time to get vaccinated.
The type of cancer and type of treatment are factors to consider so that your doctor can discuss the risks, benefits, schedule, and what to know or do before receiving your first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.
Cancer patients are exposed to complications from infection with the Covid-19 due to the nature of treatment that affects the immune system directly, and the development of cancer increases the depletion of immunity, so the patient becomes more susceptible to infection.
Cancer cells that develop in the human body weaken the immune system and make the patient vulnerable to health risks and complications that accompany infection with the virus.
Although the evidence regarding vaccination for cancer patients is still somewhat limited due to the novelty of the virus and vaccine, the evidence to date is considered sufficient to support anti-infective vaccination in general even in cancer patients undergoing immunosuppressive therapy.
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Type of Cancer, Treatment, and Timing of the Vaccine
For patients receiving chemotherapy or any type of immunosuppressive treatment, doctors generally recommend any vaccine during chemotherapy but because vaccines can cause a fever in the first 24 to 48 hours, it is best to receive the vaccines at a time when a low count of White blood cells is not expected, because high temperature in such a case may require hospitalization.
In some other cases, it may be best to delay Covid-19 vaccination until after the completion of intensive chemotherapy, such as those given as induction therapy for acute leukemia.
For most patients who receive cancer immunotherapy, it is okay to go ahead with vaccination and immunotherapy does not need to be interrupted.
But there is a small group of cancer patients who should delay getting vaccinated: those who are undergoing bone marrow transplants; The reason for this is that to get a bone marrow transplant the normal immune system must be completely wiped out in order for the patient’s body to accept the transplant.
These patients should be vaccinated about 30 days after a transplant when the immune system has recovered sufficiently and after the doctor has received the prior history of treatment.