As the COVID-19 vaccine is being rolled out across the United States, patients diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma and other cancers are finding themselves uncertain about what they should do. Not only are they unclear regarding whether they should be vaccinated, but once told that they should they are having a hard time getting access to the hard-to-find shot.
Patients with Cancers Like Mesothelioma Encouraged to Get Vaccinated
Though mesothelioma patients should seek advice from their physicians before getting vaccinated, in most cases it is recommended that cancer patients seek out their protection from COVID-19. In fact, experts have recommended that cancer patients be prioritized for the injections. Unfortunately, only 16 states have taken action to put them at the front of the line, leaving vulnerable patients to fend for themselves.
There is a long list of organizations that have encouraged patients receiving active cancer treatment to get vaccinated early. They include the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, the American Association for Cancer Research, and the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. This is a result of clear evidence that they are at greater risk of death or complications from a coronavirus infection: A recent article in the journal Cancer Discovery reported that COVID-19 fatality rates are twice as high in people with cancer than in people without cancer.
No Verification Process for Mesothelioma Patients to Access COVID-19 Vaccinations
Because the vaccine delivery is being dictated and managed by individual states, there is no uniform approach for mesothelioma patients to pursue in order to access the life-saving vaccine. In 34 states cancer patients get no special prioritization at all, while in the other 16 that do allow them to move to the front of the line, there is no method for proving that they are deserving of the earlier shot. Many call their oncologists, only to find that there are no ready answers. According to patient advocate Grace Cordovano, PhD “Everyone that registers is basically on the same playing field … because there’s no verification process…. Adding a few more fields [in the form] could really make a difference.”
If you have been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma and you need information on treatments, the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net can help. Call us today at 1-800-692-8608.