Data indicates COVID vaccine safe for cancer patients

Benita Zahn & WNYT Staff
Updated: January 27, 2021 12:25 PM
Created: January 26, 2021 06:05 PM

People with certain health conditions like diabetes and hypertension are encouraged to get the COVID vaccine, but what about cancer patients?

Janice Baird had that same question. She has spent 3 ½ years keeping Stage 4 kidney cancer at bay. When the pandemic hit, knowing she's at increased risk of complications if she catches it, she hunkered in.

Then the vaccine was approved. She wondered if she should take it. Her doctor assured her it was the right move.

Dr. Stephen Wrzesinski, an oncologist at NYOH, agrees. He says data recently published by the National Cancer Care Network provides guidelines for vaccinating this population and only notes a few exceptions. They include those who have a known severe reaction to any of the vaccine's components, and those undergoing high dose chemo which suppress the production of white blood cells.

Wrzesinski says it's not a safety issue, but more the efficacy of the vaccine. That's because their immune system is depressed. So these patients are recommended to wait at least three months after completing that chemo to be vaccinated.

Learn if Dr. Wrzesinski has heard about any negative side effects by watching the video of Benita Zahn's story.

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