NCCN issues guidance for COVID-19 vaccination in cancer patients
medwireNews: The COVID-19 Vaccination Advisory Committee of the US National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) has provided preliminary recommendations for COVID-19 vaccinations in people with cancer.
The committee “feels strongly that COVID-19 vaccines should be given to all cancer patients,” but suggests specific delays for individuals undergoing hematopoietic cell transplantation or cellular therapy, hematologic cancer patients receiving intensive cytotoxic chemotherapy, and those undergoing major surgery.
The guidance also states that household contacts and caregivers should be vaccinated when they become eligible to receive the vaccine, but cautions patients and close contacts to “continue to wear masks, maintain social distancing guidelines, and follow other recommendations for COVID-19 prevention.”
There is also information to help prioritization in case of limited vaccine availability; specifically, priority should be given to individuals on active treatment, those about to start treatment, and those in the immediate post-treatment period (<6 months). But the guidance also highlights the need to consider other risk factors, such as age and comorbidities, known to be associated with poor COVID-19 outcomes.
These “recommendations are based on the expert opinion of the committee” due to limited prospective data in this setting, and will be updated as data emerge, conclude the guidance authors.
Speaking to medwireNews, independent expert Stephen Liu (Georgetown University, Washington, DC, USA) said that he is “very much in favor of vaccination,” for cancer patients.
Noting that mRNA vaccines “have already been explored in cancer,” Liu believes the vaccine-associated risks for these patients are low.
“The risk of complications from COVID-19 infection, however, is very present and I encourage all of my patients to be vaccinated as soon as they have access to a vaccine,” he remarked.
medwireNews is an independent medical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Ltd. © 2021 Springer Healthcare Ltd, part of the Springer Nature Group
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