The pandemic has severely affected patients with lung cancer and hindered lung cancer research. Lung cancer patients also have a higher risk of developing COVID-19 due to their compromised immune system. The combination of lung cancer and COVID-19 can be detrimental. Luckily, COVID-19 vaccines can provide lung cancer patients with some protection from the virus.
Are vaccines safe for all lung cancer patients?
LUNGevity recommends the COVID-19 vaccine for virtually all lung cancer patients, with the exception of those with a known severe reaction to polyethylene glycol or polysorbate.
You should discuss your options with your doctor. The ultimate decision of whether to receive a vaccine or not may also be influenced by your health status as well as the type and timing of your cancer treatment.
Are vaccines safe for patients in treatment?
Talk with your doctor to see if you can get a vaccine during active cancer treatment, such as chemotherapy, immunotherapy, or radiation therapy. You need an active immune system for the vaccine to work. Chemotherapy or radiation therapy can weaken the immune response and make the vaccine less effective.
In general, patients getting cancer treatment may get the COVID-19 vaccine if:
- Substances in that vaccine would not be harmful or disruptive to their cancer treatment
- You and your doctors can time the vaccination for when your immune system is active, such as between cycles of therapy and after a waiting period if you have received a stem cell transplant or immune globulin treatment
Will your medicine affect the vaccine?
If you plan on getting the vaccine, it is safe to still take your medication. In fact, you should not stop taking your medicine unless your doctor instructs you to.
If you have concerns about how your medicine may affect the vaccine, you can call your doctor to make sure. It’s important to share decisions with your doctor so they can guide your