Covid vaccine: Common medical treatment could inhibit Covid vaccine warns expert

Deborah James discusses side effects of chemotherapy

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Cancer treatments can weaken the immune system, reducing the impact of a Covid vaccination.

These people may need to receive an additional booster shot, according to Saranya Chumsri, MD, haematologist and oncologist at Mayo Clinic Cancer Centre and lead author of the new study.

This applies not only to chemotherapy but also a newer type of cancer treatment that was believed to not be as damaging to the immune system.

Doctor Chumsri’s patients produced lower levels of Covid neutralising antibodies while undergoing treatment at the cancer centre.

Because the immune systems of these people are weakened they are also at greater risk of infection and severe complications from the Coronavirus.

Doctor Chumsri said: “It is important for patients with cancer who are receiving chemotherapy to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.”

The American Cancer Society warns that other treatments may also interfere with the immune system.

This includes radiation therapy, stem cell and bone marrow transplants and immunotherapy.

They additionally note that some cancer types, such as leukaemia and lymphomas can weaken the immune system independent of treatment.

The NHS offers additional vaccine doses to people with weakened immune systems.

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The extent to which a person’s vaccine response will be reduced is variable between people.

The study suggests patients at risk are tested to determine their antibody levels following a vaccination.

This can allow for better decision making over whether an extra vaccine is needed.

One medication singled out in the paper is a class of drugs called CDK 4/6 inhibitors.

These are a newer treatment for breast cancer that blocks a hormone receptor used by the cancer.

This only works if the cancer is fueled by the hormones being blocked, oestrogen and progesterone.

This applies to two thirds of breast cancers, according to the National Cancer Institute.

Data about vaccines is expected to be released over time that will help medical decision makers.

Earlier this month, US courts ordered the FDA, a regulatory agency, to begin releasing vaccine data it held on Pfizer’s Covid vaccine.

The data is being released at a rate of 55,000 pages a month under the Freedom of Information Act.

The FDA initially argued it would not be able to release more than 500 pages a month.

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