Many Blood Cancer Patients Get Little Protection From COVID Vaccine

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By Dennis Thompson
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 27, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- Anti-vaxxers felt their suspicions confirmed erstwhile erstwhile U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell died from COVID-19 complications successful mid-October contempt being afloat vaccinated.

But Powell, 84, was being treated for blood cancer astatine the clip of his death, and a caller survey reports that the COVID vaccines are producing small to nary extortion for immoderate crab patients.

Nearly 3 retired of 5 humor crab patients failed to equine an immune effect against COVID aft receiving a afloat two-dose people of the Pfizer vaccine, according to clinical trial results from the United Kingdom.

People with coagulated tumors besides had a little robust effect to COVID vaccination compared with steadfast folks, researchers added.

The caller survey "demonstrates to america that radical with some coagulated tumors and besides humor cancers bash not respond optimally to vaccines, and peculiarly to COVID vaccine," said Dr. William Schaffner, aesculapian manager of the Bethesda, Md.-based National Foundation for Infectious Diseases. "They person demonstrated it with a sureness and a completeness that we didn't person before."

Powell died portion battling multiple myeloma, a humor crab that peculiarly impacts the immune system. He had been scheduled to person a 3rd COVID vaccine booster shot, but died earlier his appointment.

"Although we are good to effort to get them to respond by giving them a 3rd dose of vaccine, our expectations shouldn't beryllium excessively high, and neither should the patients' [expectations]," Schaffner said.

For this trial, Dr. Sheeba Irshad, a elder objective lecturer from King's College London, and colleagues administered the Pfizer vaccine to 159 people, 128 of whom were crab patients. They past tracked their immune response. The results were published Oct. 11 successful the diary Cancer Cell.

The researchers recovered that lone 36% of humor crab patients achieved an immune effect to COVID pursuing afloat vaccination, compared with 78% of coagulated crab patients and 88% of the steadfast power participants.

The archetypal dose of vaccine didn't enactment peculiarly good successful coagulated crab patients, with lone 38% processing an immune effect to COVID. But a 2nd dose fixed astatine either 3 oregon 12 weeks boosted protection.

Cancers thin to wreak havoc with the body's immune system, peculiarly cancers of the blood, Schaffner said.

Blood cancers "frequently impact cells that interact with oregon are a portion of the immune strategy -- lymphomas, for example. The illness itself reduces the capableness of the immune strategy to relation normally," Schaffner said.

The survey points retired that older property -- a known nexus to terrible COVID -- takes a backmost spot to cancer, said 1 expert.

"A crab diagnosis seems to trump property arsenic a hazard origin for a weaker immune response," said Dr. Julie Gralow, enforcement vice president and main aesculapian serviceman of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

The treatments utilized to cure crab -- chemotherapy, radiation therapy, immunotherapy -- besides tin interfere with immune response, said Dr. Betty Hamilton, interim manager of the Cleveland Clinic Blood and Marrow Transplant Program.

"We person had the consciousness that patients who are immunosuppressed oregon immunocompromised successful immoderate mode person little effect to the vaccine," Hamilton said, citing crab patients arsenic good arsenic patients undergoing organ transplant.

Still, crab patients should get the COVID vaccine and booster, Hamilton and Schaffner said.

"We bash inactive urge vaccination for these patients due to the fact that we bash judge that a small spot of extortion is amended than none," Hamilton said.

Best stake is to quarantine

But their champion stake to enactment COVID-safe is to quarantine, and for the radical astir them to get vaccinated and instrumentality choky to nationalist wellness recommendations, the experts said.

"If you are 1 of these people, oregon 1 of the radical astir these people, you person to beryllium careful," Schaffner said. "Use the masks. Be precise cautious with social distancing, and debar crowds. And surely the radical astir them should beryllium vaccinated."

Hamilton agreed.

"It's truly important to counsel these patients that they inactive request to beryllium precise cautious successful nationalist and to deterioration masks and lavation their hands frequently," Hamilton said.

"My specialty is bone marrow transplant, and truthful our patients are highly immunosuppressed," she said. "Oftentimes aft transplant they usage these nationalist wellness measures anyway. Even without COVID, they've been utilizing these methods of avoiding crowded places and wearing masks and washing their hands often and avoiding radical who are ill."

This menace to crab patients further emphasizes the request for arsenic galore radical successful the assemblage arsenic imaginable to get vaccinated against COVID, Hamilton and Schaffner added.

"If you licence this microorganism to circulate successful the community, occasionally it volition sneak done the perimeter that we make astir these people. It tin get successful and infect 1 of these radical and marque them gravely ill," Schaffner said.

"You tin judge everyone astir Colin Powell with an army's precision was going to beryllium protected. Nobody wanted to beryllium the dreaded spreader who gave it to Colin Powell, but it got done to the Powell household anyway," helium continued. "That happens erstwhile the microorganism is inactive retired determination circulating successful the assemblage and hasn't yet been suppressed optimally."

And it's not conscionable radical with crab who would beryllium protected by herd immunity to COVID, Schaffner said.

"There are galore much frail radical astir america than we are utilized to, due to the fact that aesculapian subject is specified that radical are surviving older. They're surviving frailer. People with underlying superior illnesses similar cancers of assorted kinds are surviving longer among us," Schaffner said. "We each stock a work to assistance support our frail brothers and sisters who unrecorded among us."

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has much connected COVID-19 vaccines for immunocompromised patients.

SOURCES: William Schaffner, MD, aesculapian director, National Foundation for Infectious Diseases, Bethesda, Md.; Julie Gralow, MD, enforcement vice president and main aesculapian officer, American Society of Clinical Oncology; Betty Hamilton, MD, interim director, Cleveland Clinic Blood and Marrow Transplant Program; Cancer Cell, Oct. 11, 2021

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