Patients with cancer can be at high risk of severe COVID-19 due to their age, disease, cancer treatment, and medical co-morbidities.
The pandemic has also led to substantial disruptions to diagnosis and treatment in many parts of the world.
Patients with cancer in low-income and middle-income countries (LMICs) are further disadvantaged compared with those in high-income settings because of unequal access to COVID-19 vaccines in already fragile health-care systems.
What do we know so far about the safety and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines for patients with cancer? Notably, the published data only reflect certain vaccines in specific, mostly high-income, settings. With this caveat in mind, most guidelines now recommend COVID-19 vaccination for patients with cancer, making the generalised assumption that the benefits outweigh the risks.
Encouragingly, emerging data from countries that are more advanced in their vaccine rollout have found no additional safety issues so far for patients with cancer.
For those patients with cancer receiving a vaccine, a shorter duration between both doses (ie, 21 days between initial vaccinaton and booster) is required to ensure an adequate immune response.
However, the dataset informing this advice is for specific vaccines in highly selected, high-income settings…more