Below are few important points regarding COVID 19 Vaccine in patients undergoing cancer treatment / completed treatment/ caregivers of cancer patients as per national and international guidelines prevailing till date
- Cancer patients are at higher risk for acquiring COVID hence should receive COVID vaccination on priority. ( In India > 45 years of age)
- All cancer patients who have completed cancer treatment and are free from cancer should definitely take COVID 19 vaccination as per National guidelines
- Patients undergoing active cancer treatment like chemotherapy can also undertake COVID 19 vaccination with few specifications and after consultation with their oncologist.Except Highly myelosuppressive chemotherapies, leukemias and bone marrow transplant patients, COVID 19 Vaccine is recommended to all patients on active cancer treatment like chemotherapy, hormonal therapy, targeted therapy, immunotherapy, radiation therapy, and surgery whenever it is made available to them.
- The optimal timing of Vaccination during chemotherapy cycles is not very clear. Guidelines recommend giving whenever available. Generally preferable to give 10-15 days after chemotherapy when the risk of neutropenia is less.
- Both currently available Indian vaccines i.e COVAXIN and COVISHIELD are equally efficacious and safe as per evidence and there is no preference of one over another. Patients should take whichever vaccine is available at their turn.Same vaccine should be repeated at the time of the second dose and should follow the schedule as per guidelines.
- Breast cancer patients should take the vaccine on the opposite arm of the side of surgery.
- No restrictions for taking vaccines for patients on hormonal therapy, Immunotherapy, radiotherapy.
- Caregivers of cancer patients should get vaccinated on a priority basis as per National guidelines.
- Most importantly, even after vaccination patients and caregivers should follow all precautions of hand hygiene, face mask, and social distancing.
above information is based on current National and International guidelines
Patients should consult their oncologist on case to case basis.