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Cancer Patients and COVID-19 Vaccination Recommendations

March 4, 2021 • 2:55 pm CST
(Vax Before Cancer)

The National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) recently released preliminary guidelines for COVID-19 vaccination in patients with cancer.

The new Recommendations of the NCCN COVID-19 Vaccination Advisory Committee state:

  • Patients with cancer should be prioritized for vaccination (CDC priority group 1b/c) and immunized when vaccination is available to them.
  • Immunization is recommended for all patients receiving active therapy, understanding that there are limited safety and efficacy data in these patients.
  • Reasons for delay of vaccines are similar to those that impede delivery to the general public (eg, recent exposure to COVID-19), and there are also cancer-specific factors.
  • Vaccination should be delayed for at least 3 months following hematopoietic cell transplantation or engineered cellular therapy (eg, chimeric antigen receptor [CAR] T cells) to maximize vaccine efficacy.

The NCCN says 'vaccination prioritization is challenging to develop when considering the diverse population of patients with varied comorbidities, demographic and social factors known to increase risk of COVID-19 acquisition, morbidity, and/or mortality. Decisions must be made in accordance with state and local vaccine guidance on allocation.'

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