Dr. Ip on Remaining Questions With the COVID-19 Vaccine in Oncology

Partner | Cancer Centers | <b>John Theurer Cancer Center</b>

Andrew Ip, MD, MS, discusses remaining questions with the COVID-19 vaccine in patients with cancer.

Andrew Ip, MD, MS, a hematologist/oncologist, John Theurer Cancer Center, Hackensack Meridian Health, discusses remaining questions with the COVID-19 vaccine in patients with cancer.

Patients with cancer were among the first groups to be offered the first doses of COVID-19 vaccines per the CDC guidelines, says Ip. Vaccination is important for this patient population because they can develop severe complications from COVID-19 and some are on active treatment for their cancer, Ip explains.

Despite this, patients with cancer were not included in the COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials, so limited data are available to inform how efficacious the vaccines are in this population, Ip says. Moreover, these data could be particularly relevant for patients on active treatment, those with B-cell depletion from cancer therapies, and those post-transplant or post–CAR T-cell therapy, Ip adds. More data could inform the optimal time patients should get the vaccine, the efficacy of the vaccine, and whether patients have B- or T-cell immunity, Ip says.

Currently, patients with cancer should likely receive an mRNA-based vaccine because the adenovirus-based products appear to be more toxic, which could be detrimental to immunocompromised individuals, Ip concludes.