Mesothelioma patients and others diagnosed with cancer have spent the last year taking special precautions, avoiding contact with loved ones and others in order to protect against the risks of the coronavirus. Now several approved vaccines have promised an end to the danger, but a study is emphasizing the need for these patients to be diligent about getting their second vaccine dose on the prescribed schedule. UK researcher say that cancer and cancer treatments offset the first dose’s efficacy in ways that are not true of healthy individuals.
Mesothelioma Experts Note Vaccine Study’s Results
Mesothelioma experts and other physicians treating patients with cancers are paying special attention to the results of the study, which was conducted by Adrian Hayday, PhD, of King’s College London, and colleagues. The group reported that cancer patients with solid tumors who had received just one dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine only achieved 28% immune efficacy, while a healthy control group achieved 97% efficacy during the same time period. Fortunately, receiving a second dose 21 days later significantly improved the cancer patients’ immunity levels.
Though mesothelioma patients and others receiving the COVID-19 vaccines in the United States are generally being scheduled for their booster dose three or four weeks after their initial dose (based on which vaccine they receive), the United Kingdom shifted their vaccination schedule, delaying second doses in order to prioritize getting first doses into more of their population. The study shows that though this may help with achieving herd immunity, it leaves vulnerable individuals more exposed than had been anticipated.
Researchers Urge Vaccine Prioritization of Patients With Cancer
The scientists’ analysis of their results suggests that patients with malignant mesothelioma and other cancers get their second vaccination on the 21-day schedule, and that those in their social or medical circle also receive vaccinations in order to bolster their protection. “These data support prioritization of cancer patients for an early (21-day) second dose of the BNT162b2 vaccine. Given the globally poor responses to vaccination in patients with hematological cancers, post-vaccination serological testing, creation of herd immunity around these patients using a strategy of ‘ring vaccination,’ and careful follow-up should be prioritized.”
“Delayed boosting potentially leaves most solid and hematological cancer patients wholly or partially unprotected, with implications for their own health, their environment, and the evolution of variant-of-concern strains,” the researchers wrote. “Prompt boosting of solid cancer patients quickly overcomes the poor efficacy of the primary inoculum in solid cancer patients.”
Patients with malignant mesothelioma should consult with their physicians about whether the COVID-19 vaccine is appropriate for them. For more information about treatments and support, contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net today at 1-800-692-8608.