In Cancer Patients, COVID Vaccine Immunity at 6 Months Is Similar to General Population

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 8, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Cancer patients who get the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine appear to maintain the same levels of antibodies as people without cancer, Israeli researchers report.

They compared the rate of COVID infections after the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine (Comirnaty) among 154 patients with solid tumors with that of 135 patients without cancer.

In all, 79% of the cancer patients had antibodies — comparable to the 84% among study participants without cancer. Antibody levels, however, declined over the six months in both groups.

The new findings were published in the September issue of the journal Cancer Discovery.

“In our study we saw that in all outcomes, including immunogenicity [the ability of the vaccine to provoke an immune response], infectivity rate throughout the six months and safety, patients with solid tumors depicted a similar trend as the general population,” lead researcher Irit Ben-Aharon said in a journal news release. She is director of the oncology division at Rambam Health Care Campus in Israel.

Ben-Aharon said these data can inform recommendations for booster shots.

The National Comprehensive Cancer Network — a nonprofit alliance of 31 U.S. cancer centers — recommends that patients with blood cancers and those who had hematopoietic cell transplants or cellular therapy get booster shots first, followed by patients with solid tumors.

More information

To learn more about COVID-19 vaccines, visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

SOURCE: American Association for Cancer Research, press release, Sept. 2, 2021