Cancer Experts Answer Questions about COVID-19 Vaccines

National Comprehensive Cancer Network

PLYMOUTH MEETING, PAThe National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN®) recently announced the publication of new guidance on COVID-19 vaccines for people with cancer, intended to clear up confusion for patients and caregivers. The new four-page patient guide is based on the latest expert review of evolving evidence.

“We’re happy to provide plainspoken answers for people with cancer and their loved ones that directly address concerns about the COVID-19 vaccines,” said Robert W. Carlson, MD, Chief Executive Officer, NCCN. “We know people with cancer are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19, and also that vaccination is a safe way to reduce infection. One of NCCN’s biggest strengths is our ability to quickly bring together leading national experts in order to share their collective knowledge and insights on the evidence in straightforward, non-medical language.”

The newly-published guidance for patients and caregivers covers:

  • A brief overview of all approved vaccines in the United States;
  • Answers to Frequently Asked Questions;
  • The importance, effectiveness, and safety of COVID-19 vaccinations in people with cancer and their caregivers, households, and close contacts;
  • An explanation of which specific types of cancer treatments should appropriately result in a slight delay before vaccination;
  • And the importance of continued mask wearing after vaccination for vulnerable populations.
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“We want to reinforce that the decision to get vaccinated against COVID-19 should be something that isn’t scary or confusing for people with cancer,” said Brahm Segal, MD, Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, Co-Leader of the NCCN COVID-19 Vaccine Advisory Committee. “The members of this NCCN committee have devoted our lives to studying how to reduce infectious diseases and improve outcomes in people with cancer. I personally was happy to get whichever vaccine was first available to me; we want our loved ones, patients, and community at large to have that protection too.”

Visit NCCN.org/patientguidelines to access the COVID-19 patient guide and for additional free, trusted resources that empower people with cancer and their caregivers with unbiased guidance from some of the world’s leading cancer experts.

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Updated recommendations on COVID-19 vaccination for oncology care providers

The new patient resource is launching alongside new updates to the NCCN: Cancer and COVID-19 Vaccination recommendations for healthcare providers, which were first published in January. The newly-updated clinician guidance was published at NCCN.org/covid-19 on June 9 and includes emerging information on vaccination in younger people plus discussions around vaccine effectiveness in people with cancer.

The updated clinical recommendations include a note about counseling patients with a history of heparin-induced thrombocytopaenia and/or thrombosis to consider mRNA vaccines instead of the AdV-type 26 vector vaccine. The committee also cautions against antibody testing outside of a study, and encourages more research on the topic of booster shots.

Visit NCCN.org/covid-19 to learn more about how the coronavirus interacts with cancer, including documents, videos, and self-care tips in English, Spanish, and Chinese. Learn why experts agree that recommended cancer screenings are safe and essential, now more than ever.

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