Initial study results for COVID-19 vaccination in cancer patients

A study examining how the immune systems works and at the safety of the COVID vaccine (BioNTech/Pfizer) in 200 cancer patients shows that most patients produce antibodies after the first injection, but that these antibodies do not increase after the second injection in all patient groups. In particular, patients who are receiving a chemotherapy treatment with Rituximab make fewer antibodies.

The results are still pending from the study in which cancer patients were vaccinated with the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. These samples are currently being collected and analysed. Similar results are expected.

Main points

  • The COVID-19 vaccine (BioTech/Pfizer) is just as safe for cancer patients undergoing treatment as it is for healthy volunteers.
  • Since there is possibly reduced effectiveness of the vaccine, it is important that vaccinated cancer patients take precautionary measures to protect themselves. These patients are extra protected when their family members and close contacts are vaccinated and continue to observe the precautionary measures vigilantly.
  • Additional research — that is ongoing — will show whether or not a third vaccine given six months after the first injection contributes to a greater amount of antibodies in cancer patients currently undergoing treatment.

Would you like to know more? Read the press reports over the initial results from this study.