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10-08-2021 | COVID-19 | News

COVID-19 vaccines clinically efficacious in cancer patients

Author: Shreeya Nanda


medwireNews: COVID-19 vaccination reduces the risk for SARS-CoV-2 infection and associated mortality in people with cancer, although two doses are necessary for maximum protection, reports a French research team.

Jean Yves Blay and colleagues from Centre Léon Bérard in Lyon explain that “[c]ancer patients are at high risk of death from COVID-19, but also develop less efficient antiviral immune response after COVID-19 or vaccination.”

They therefore investigated the clinical efficacy of the vaccines in a cohort of 1503 patients who received one or two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine between January 4 and April 6, 2021, at their institution. The median age of the participants was 64.8 years and they were all undergoing anticancer therapy, most commonly for solid tumors (80%).

The majority (74.9%) received the Pfizer–BioNTech (BNT162b2) vaccine, while 21.1% received the Moderna (mRNA-1273) vaccine and 4.0% the AstraZeneca (ChAdOx1 nCoV-2019) vaccine.

Over a median follow-up of 44 days, just 1.5% of the study participants developed COVID-19 symptoms and tested positive for the virus.

However, the infection rate varied significantly between the patients who had received two doses of the vaccine and those who had received just one dose, at 0.4% and 5.0%, respectively.

The findings were similar in a landmark analysis that evaluated infection rates from 21 days after the first dose, with rates of 0.4% and 1.7% among patients who had received two doses and one dose, respectively.

Of the 24 patients with a positive test, three (12.5%) died of COVID-19. The risk for death within 2 months from the date of the first vaccine dose was significantly lower among people who received two versus one dose, both in the overall and landmark analyses.

Writing in a letter to the Annals of Oncology, the study authors therefore emphasize that “two doses of COVID-19 vaccines at 21 to 28 day intervals according to the methods of the published randomized clinical trials must be recommended in cancer patients receiving active treatment.”

medwireNews is an independent medical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Ltd. © 2021 Springer Healthcare Ltd, part of the Springer Nature Group

10 August 2021: The coronavirus pandemic is affecting all healthcare professionals across the globe. Medicine Matters’ focus, in this difficult time, is the dissemination of the latest data to support you in your research and clinical practice, based on the scientific literature. We will update the information we provide on the site, as the data are published. However, please refer to your own professional and governmental guidelines for the latest guidance in your own country.

Ann Oncol 2021; doi:10.1016/j.annonc.2021.07.012