National Comprehensive Cancer Network Issues Guidance on COVID-19 Vaccination for Patients With Cancer

NCCN states that all patients with active cancer, or with active, recent, or planned cancer treatment, should be considered highest priority to receive one of the COVID-19 vaccines granted emergency use authorization.

All patients with active cancer, or with active, recent, or planned cancer treatment, should be considered highest priority to receive one of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccines that have been granted emergency use authorization from the FDA, according to guidance released by the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN).1 The NCCN’s COVID-19 Vaccine Committee, which is comprised of hematology and oncology experts who specialize in infectious diseases, vaccine development and delivery, medical ethics, and health information technology, released these recommendations to assist cancer care providers in making more informed decisions to better protect their patients from the virus.

The recommendations decided upon were based on all available evidence and expert consensus. Among the network’s top recommendations are:

  • Patients with cancer should be prioritized for vaccination, as they are CDC priority group 1b or 1c, and they should be immunized once the vaccine is available.
  • Immunization is recommended for all patients on active therapy, with the understanding that limited safety and efficacy data are available.
  • Reasons for delay of vaccines in this population are comparable to the general public, such as recent exposure to the virus, as well as other cancer-specific factors. Immunization should be delayed for at least 3 months after hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) or engineered cellular therapy, such as CAR-T cell therapy, to maximize the effectiveness of the vaccine.
  • All caregivers and household contacts of patients with cancer should also be vaccinated when the option is available to them.

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