The CDC recently announced new recommendations that encourage those who are not immune to access a third vaccine to help support their vulnerability to COVID-19.
The announcement comes after a new study showed that those who are not immune to the immune system can build up enough antibodies to COVID-19 just like those who are not disabled.
What Cancer Patients Should Know About A Third COVID Vaccine Dose
Cancer patients make up half of those who can be considered innocent. However, it is also important for you to know that not all cancer patients have a weakened immune system and need a third dose at this time. Please refer to the details below, and contact your care team if you have any questions or concerns.
Learn more about the eligibility process for receiving a third-party vaccine from UR Medicine.
Which cancer patients should receive the third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine?
People with moderate to severe immunosuppression are eligible for additional doses, usually due to organ or stem cell transplantation, HIV infection, steroid treatment, or certain cancer modes that impair the body’s ability to fight infections.
Those cancer patients who are considered immune to include:
• Patients treated with solid tissue chemotherapy
• Some patients undergoing immunotherapy – currently or six months ago
• Patients currently being treated for leukemia or six months ago
• Patients who have passed 12 months post-treatment with anti-B cells (for example, rituximab or Rituxan®) during their initial vaccination
• Patients who have received stem cells or have received CAR T treatment for the past two years
Which cancer patients should not receive a third dose at this time?
Patients with severe abscesses are not considered safe if their cancer is treated with hormone therapy, alternative therapies targeted for stress, surgery, radiation, or other treatments.
To make sure about the best immune response in the third dose, it is recommended that certain patients discuss the best time for the third dose with their cancer care team. This includes people who have received the latest treatment including stem cell transplantation, CAR T-cell treatment, or anti-CD20 monoclonal antibodies.
How do I get a third dose if I qualify?
At the moment, UR Medicine is working to open third-party clinics for patients. During that time you can find vaccination sites by going to the Finger Lakes Vaccine Hub website.
(To find the location closest to you, scroll to the bottom of the page and select the region where you live.) Patients may also choose to enter a local pharmacy to ask if they offer a third dose of COVID for vulnerable patients.
Do you need any kind of prescription for a third dose?
No. However, patient evidence is used. Different vaccination centers or pharmacies treat this process differently; If you have questions about this procedure, contact your vaccine directly.
Is there any difference between the third dose and a booster shot?
The additional dose – also called the third dose – follows the first series of two-dose vaccination for people who may not have received an adequate immune response after receiving the first series of vaccinations.
In other words, it is possible that these people did not have the same levels of protection of COVID-19 as other people because of their weakened immune system, so they need more protection that can be given in a third dose.
The FDA and the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention have also approved additional doses of Pfizer and Moderna for COVID-19 for severely vaccinated people.
In contrast, a booster is an additional dose given to groups whose immune response has decreased over time.
What are the common side effects of a third dose?
The response reported after the third dose of mRNA is almost the same as what the people experience after receiving a two-dose series.
The most side effects which are seen are fatigue and pain at the injection site. Most symptoms after vaccination are mild to moderate and resolved within 1-2 days.
Will we need additional doses or stimulants after this third dose?
This is something that researchers are still working on. They hope to gain a better understanding of what future doses or stimulants will need and, if so, how often.