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Certain Cancer Patients Benefit From 3rd COVID-19 Vaccination

December 13, 2021 • 10:42 am CST
(Vax Before Cancer)

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) announced today for some patients with blood cancer, the third COVID-19 vaccine dose led to antibody levels seen in healthy adults.

This finding was confirmed by measuring detectable antibodies to the spike protein in the SARS-CoV-2 virus before and after the third dose of the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines.

The results from the study, the largest of its kind to date, also demonstrate those blood cancer patients who had at least some antibodies after the first two doses are likely to produce large amounts after the third vaccination. 

“Our data show a clear benefit of giving blood cancer patients three primary vaccine doses, but there is still a large portion of patients who will remain at risk even with the additional dose,” says Lee Greenberger, Ph.D., LLS chief scientific officer, in a press release issued on December 13, 2021.

In this study, about 20% (139/699) of blood cancer patients still had no measurable COVID-19 antibodies after the third dose.

Vaccines stimulate the production of anti-spike antibodies, which can block the entry of the COVID-19 virus into human cells.

These antibodies appear to offer protection from getting sick or having severe disease. However, for many blood cancer patients, their antibody levels may not be as strong as those in fully vaccinated, healthy adults – making them more susceptible to a COVID-19 breakthrough infection.

The results, which were reported at the American Society of Hematology (ASH) Annual Meeting, are from the largest pool of blood cancer patients reported to date.

The data reported by LLS are from the LLS National Patient Registry, which has been tracking COVID-19 vaccine response among more than 11,000 blood cancer patients since February 2021.

LLS previously reported findings from first and second dose vaccination and a smaller study with third vaccination in near real-time to help blood cancer patients and their oncologists make informed decisions about vaccines and other measures they can take to avoid infection.