In the Vaccine Scramble, Cancer Patients Are Left Behind

Hematologists and clinical investigators from Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Drs. Haini al-Samkari said, “It’s totally – I wouldn’t say disaster, but it’s very close.” Cancer patients are receiving “mixed messages”, he said, and the guidance they receive depends largely on their state. Every day they receive a deluge of messages from patients if they qualify to receive the vaccine (in their state, the answer is massive). One gave four hours to find the vaccination site. “This is the Wild West,” he said.

He urged cancer patients to consult their doctors to coordinate the timing of the vaccine to suit their treatment, unless they were in remission, treated long time ago or only for breast or prostate cancer Are receiving hormonal treatment, Dr. Tomas said Beer is a professor at Oregon Health and Science University’s School of Medicine and deputy director of the school’s Knight Cancer Institute.

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Answers to your vaccine questions

Currently more than 150 million people – about half the population – are eligible for vaccination. but Each state makes the final decision about who goes first. The country’s 21 million health care workers and three million residents of long-term care facilities were previously eligible. In mid-January, federal officials urged all states To open eligibility All adults 65 and older with medical conditions at high risk of becoming seriously ill or dying of Kovid-19. Adults in the general population are behind the line. If federal and state health officials can overcome bottlenecks in vaccine delivery, all 16 and older will become eligible by this spring or early summer. The vaccine has not been approved in children, although studies are ongoing. It may be months before the vaccine becomes available to anyone under 16 months of age. Go to your state health website For up-to-date information about vaccination policies in your area

You should not give anything out of pocket to get vaccinated, Although you will be asked for insurance information. Even if you do not have insurance, you should be given the vaccine at no charge. Congress passed legislation this spring to prohibit insurers from sharing any costs, such as co-pays or deductibles. It provides additional protection from billing patients to pharmacies, doctors and hospitals, including those. Still, health experts worry that patients may be weak Leave the bills surprising them. This can happen to people who are charged with a doctor visit with a vaccine, or Americans who have certain types of health coverage that are not covered under the new regulations. If you receive your vaccine from a doctor’s office or urgent care clinic, talk to them about a possible hidden fee. To ensure that you do not get a surprise bill, the best bet is to get your vaccine delivered to the health department’s vaccination site or local pharmacy after shots become more widely available.

It is to be determined. It is possible that the Kovid-19 vaccination will become an annual phenomenon like the flu pill. Or it may be that the benefits of the vaccine stay for more than a year. We will have to wait to see how durable the protection from vaccines is. To determine this, researchers are going to monitor vaccinated people to look for “cases of success” – people who get sick from Kovid-19 despite being vaccinated. This is a sign of weakening safety and will give researchers clues about how long the vaccine lasts. They will monitor the levels of antibodies and T cells in the blood of vaccinated people to determine if and when a booster shot may be required. It is predictable that people may need boosters every few months, once a year or only a few years. It is just a matter of waiting for the data.

For example, people who are on chemotherapy may have the best likelihood of increasing the immune response if the vaccine is given when their white blood cell count is not at their lowest level, Dr. Beer said. Recommendations for patients with leukemia or lymphoma who are undergoing treatment or recent bone marrow transplantation are particularly complex and require consultation and coordination with an oncologist, he emphasized.

While some people may worry about the risks of encountering congestion at the mass vaccination site, Drs. Al-Sankari advises patients to receive doses wherever available and as long as they wear masks and keep distance from other people. “The concern is clearly well established,” he said. “But we need to take shots in the arms.”

In general, people with cancer should take the vaccine “as soon as possible, wherever they can”, Dr. Said Carole Ann Huff, clinical director of the Sydney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins and one of the authors of National Comprehensive. Cancer Network Guidelines on Kovid-19 Vaccines for Cancer Patients. He stated that there are some caviates: patients who receive a bone-marrow transplant or CAR-T therapy must wait at least three months before receiving the vaccine.

But, depending on the level of transmission of the virus in a patient’s community, it may be safe to wait to receive the vaccine. If there is a high level of broadcasting in the community, “risk can outweigh the benefits of waiting,” Dr. Beer said. Patients with active cancer should engage with their oncologist before receiving the vaccine, they advised, unless they were removed, treated long ago or receiving hormonal treatment only for breast or prostate cancer. Huh.

Those taking part in cancer clinical trials have guidance regarding vaccination. Alison Herke, 46, of Maryland, has four kidney cancers and is participating in an immune therapy test; She said that her doctor is not sure whether she should get the vaccine or not. National Comprehensive Cancer Network guidelines broadly recommend patients receiving immunotherapy to receive the vaccine as it becomes available, but should consult their doctors first after several such trials. She feels as if she is in an unhappy state, waiting for more information – a process she feels more frustrated with. “My forecast is not great. I probably have a few years left, ”she said. “It’s really hard to spend time, knowing that I don’t have a lot of time left, just being in my house.”

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