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NCCN Endorses Full COVID-19 Vaccination for Cancer Patients

FRIDAY, Jan. 14, 2022 -- Full COVID-19 vaccination, including third doses and/or boosters, is recommended for all patients with cancer, with a strong preference for mRNA vaccines, according to expert consensus recommendations published by the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN).

The Advisory Committee on COVID-19 Vaccination and Preexposure Prophylaxis reviewed all available research and developed evidence-based recommendations for patients with cancer.

The committee endorses vaccination for all eligible persons based on U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved indications or emergency use authorization (EUA). Patients with cancer should be fully immunized, including receiving third doses and boosters. Noting that patients with cancer or other immunocompromising conditions are most effectively protected from COVID-19 when their close contacts and general community are vaccinated, caregivers, household/close contacts, and the general public are also urged to undergo vaccination. To improve vaccine efficacy, vaccination should be delayed for at least three months after hematopoietic cell transplantation or engineered cellular therapy. Any of the available FDA-approved or EUA vaccines are recommended, with a strong preference for mRNA vaccines over the Janssen/Johnson & Johnson Adenovirus vector vaccine. Mandates for health care worker vaccination are strongly supported by the committee.

"We have new agents to prevent and treat COVID-19 that will benefit patients with cancer," Brahm Segal, M.D., coleader of the NCCN Advisory Committee on COVID-19 Vaccination and Preexposure Prophylaxis, said in a statement. "An important challenge on a national level is to ensure drug availability to patients with cancer and others at high risk for COVID-19."

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