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Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 6,233
Registered: ‎03-19-2010

Pfizer vaccine and Cancer Patients

The Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine provides less protection in cancer patients than healthy individuals following a single dose, a new real-world study in the UK suggests, raising questions about whether the UK's strategy to delay second doses should apply to such patients.

A second dose of the vaccine at three weeks, however, boosted their protection significantly, with the researchers calling for earlier boosts in this group in the UK. The UK's vaccine strategy currently involves a 12-week gap between doses of the coronavirus vaccines; Pfizer recommends 21 days between doses.

 

The study analyzed the impact of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine on 205 participants — 54 healthy volunteers and 151 elderly patients with solid cancers, such as breast or prostate cancer, and haematological (blood) cancers, such as leukemia. The preprint study has not yet been peer-reviewed or published.

The researchers looked for levels of antibodies and T cells in their blood to identify the level of immune response generated against the coronavirus.

Three weeks after one dose of the vaccine, an antibody response was found in 39% of solid cancer patients and just 13% of people with blood cancer. The response in healthy volunteers was 97%.

In the solid cancer patients who received a second dose three weeks after the first, the antibody response shot up to 95% within two weeks of the boost. There were not enough booster vaccines given to blood cancer patients to determine the response in that group.

Further evidence of the need for a boost was shown by the fact that antibody levels only increased to 43% in people with solid cancers and 8% in those with blood cancer five weeks after their first dose. It was 100% in healthy volunteers.

"Our data provides the first real-world evidence of immune efficacy following one dose of the Pfizer vaccine in immunocompromised patient populations. We show that following first dose, most solid and haematological cancer patients remained immunologically unprotected up until at least five weeks following primary injection; but this poor one dose efficacy can be rescued with an early booster at day 21," said Dr. Sheeba Irshad, a senior clinical lecturer from the School of Cancer & Pharmaceutical Sciences who led the research.

"Based on our findings, we would recommend an urgent review of the vaccine strategy for clinically extremely vulnerable groups. Until then, it is important that cancer patients continue to observe all public health measures in place such as social distancing and shielding when attending hospitals, even after vaccination," Irshad added in a statement.

Stephen Evans, professor of pharmacoepidemiology at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, highlighted that certain limitations needs to be taken into account.

"The change in UK policy around delaying a second dose of vaccine allowed for the authors to make some comparisons between those who received a second dose within 21 days and those who did not. They have not yet provided data on those who received a second dose after a 12 week delay," he said in a statement to the UK's Science Media Centre.

"Nevertheless, these results do suggest that the vaccines may well not protect those patients with cancer as well as those without cancer," he added.

"All of these findings are consistent with our understanding of the immune system function in cancer patients.," said Shoba Amarnath, Newcastle University research fellow at the Newcastle University Centre for Cancer. "We know that the immune system within cancer patients is compromised as compared to healthy controls. Hence, a 2nd vaccine boost prepares the dysregulated immune system to function at the same efficiency as healthy controls.

"The data in the study supports the notion that in solid cancer patients a considerable delay in second dose will extend the period when cancer patients are at risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection."

Honored Contributor
Posts: 15,592
Registered: ‎04-28-2010

Re: Pfizer vaccine and Cancer Patients

Thank you.

 

It's always good to have bits of information from here and there.

 

'It all adds up', so to speak.

 

Time will give us more information.

'More or less', 'Right or wrong', 'In general', and 'Just thinking out loud ' (as usual).
Respected Contributor
Posts: 2,163
Registered: ‎07-18-2010

Re: Pfizer vaccine and Cancer Patients

Don't lose your opportunity to get the vaccines.  I have a relative who has been a hermit for the last year come down with covid 3 weeks ago.  Widow, small town, lives alone, working from home.  But had symptoms and 5 days later went to ER and is now in hospital ICU and on a ventilator.  

No clue how infected, my guess one of the new highly infectious variants that is bringing down so many. 

Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 7,310
Registered: ‎02-19-2014

Re: Pfizer vaccine and Cancer Patients

This means everyone who is able needs to get vaccinated to protect cancer patients. We need to stop the spread of this disease!

 

How terrible for those who are already going through such an awful time have to be concerned about being infected by the non-vaccinated--while those of us who get our shots can go back to normal and live our lives like we did before!

 

That is completely unfair to cancer patients.

When you’re accustomed to privilege, equality feels like oppression.
"Power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anemic." - Dr. Martin Luther King Jr
Super Contributor
Posts: 402
Registered: ‎12-03-2010

Re: Pfizer vaccine and Cancer Patients

@Porcelain  You made a sensitive comment about how much cancer patients are already dealing with, and what a burden it is to add covid to that. Thank you

Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 7,310
Registered: ‎02-19-2014

Re: Pfizer vaccine and Cancer Patients


@KLm wrote:

@Porcelain  You made a sensitive comment about how much cancer patients are already dealing with, and what a burden it is to add covid to that. Thank you


I've lost family members to cancer and my mother is a surviver. It's hell.

 

I remember visiting my grandfather in the hospital, and having to wear a mask to protect him because he had no immune system. I can't imagine what that would be like now.

 

I wish everyone fighting that crappy horrible disease much strength--and more support than my mother had. I was too young to fully understand what she was going through. She hid a lot of it very well. Thank God for her friends. They saved her life.

 

We all need each other.

When you’re accustomed to privilege, equality feels like oppression.
"Power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anemic." - Dr. Martin Luther King Jr
Trusted Contributor
Posts: 1,831
Registered: ‎03-10-2010

Re: Pfizer vaccine and Cancer Patients

@Porcelain - Infected people need to stay away from people with cancer, but there is no need for anyone to be injected with COVID inoculations as a means of preventing infection in cancer patients.  The mRNA shots and the new DNA shot have not been conclusively proven to prevent infection nor transmission in recipients.  The Phase III clinical trials are still going on -- on the entire world population -- so no statements on sterilizing immunity can be made by any manufacturer at this time--- it is way, way, way too premature for that kind of statement, especially considering that the vast majority of non-EUA vaccines had to go through a good decade or more of testing before any kind of similar statement could be made.  

 

 

Step out onto The Highwire....
Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 6,233
Registered: ‎03-19-2010

Re: Pfizer vaccine and Cancer Patients

This doesn't mean that cancer patients can't get the vaccine, just probably shouldn't get the Pfizer one.  I have a friend who is getting ready to start cancer treatments, so I sent him this information.  He said just his luck, Pfizer is the one that Vandy (where his oncologist is) is giving out.  So, he's looking to try and find a different vaccine.

 

I actually didn't thnk it was recommended for patients going through chemo to get the vaccine.  Maybe that advice has changed since early on.

Respected Contributor
Posts: 2,007
Registered: ‎03-10-2010

Re: Pfizer vaccine and Cancer Patients


@Icegoddess wrote:

This doesn't mean that cancer patients can't get the vaccine, just probably shouldn't get the Pfizer one.  I have a friend who is getting ready to start cancer treatments, so I sent him this information.  He said just his luck, Pfizer is the one that Vandy (where his oncologist is) is giving out.  So, he's looking to try and find a different vaccine.

 

I actually didn't thnk it was recommended for patients going through chemo to get the vaccine.  Maybe that advice has changed since early on.


@Icegoddess 

 

The problem is not the Pfizer vaccine. The problem is that those of us that are on chemo drugs have immune systems that are suppressed and cannot respond as well to a vaccine... any vaccine. The Pfizer vaccine has the highest efficacy. It would be best for him to be vaccinated as soon as possible and get the second dose in 21 days according to this. The problem in the article is that in the UK, the 2nd dose is being delayed. The data is showing the best response to be with the 21 day interval as it is being given here.

Honored Contributor
Posts: 8,302
Registered: ‎03-09-2010

Re: Pfizer vaccine and Cancer Patients


@Porcelain wrote:

This means everyone who is able needs to get vaccinated to protect cancer patients. We need to stop the spread of this disease!

 

How terrible for those who are already going through such an awful time have to be concerned about being infected by the non-vaccinated--while those of us who get our shots can go back to normal and live our lives like we did before!

 

That is completely unfair to cancer patients.


@Porcelain 

First of all, cancer is not fair.  That's the first big victim situation.  There are many others.  Everything they come in contact with that is viral or infectious could kill them.  Cancer is a mean disease.  It does not read the social register, the Wall Street journal or any of the social rags.