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Why the COVID-19 Vaccine is Important for Patients with Blood Cancers


Patients with blood cancers are at a much higher risk of complications if they contract COVID-19, says an expert from the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS).

Patients with blood cancers are at a much higher risk of complications if they contract COVID-19, according to Dr. Gwen Nichols, chief medical officer of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS). That’s why it’s important that researchers gather as much information they can about the vaccine’s impact on this population — and why patients should consider getting one as soon as they can.

The LLS recently launched their National Patient Registry to answer questions about how COVID-19 and the COVID-19 vaccines affect patients with blood cancer, given that some individuals may not have an adequate response to vaccination, depending on cancer type and where they are in their treatment.

In an interview with CURE®, Nichols discussed how the registry aims to gather data and ultimately improve care for patients with blood cancers during the pandemic, and explained why the vaccine is important for these patients.


Patients with blood cancer in particular, and that's the population we studied, are at much higher risk of complications, if they get COVID. The data over this past year has been — every new paper is more concerning.

Of course it depends on your age, on what type of malignancy you have, on whether you're on active treatment versus a survivor, (there are) lots of complicated factors, but the range of increased risk of mortality, not just getting deathly sick and ending up in an ICU, but dying, ranges somewhere, in different reports, from 25 to 55%. So, you know, we're talking about a three-fold risk, maybe, of dying from COVID, if you get it.

And so, obviously we have to know if they are eligible and (if vaccination is) appropriate, you know, their doctors are the ones who have to make that decision. But, you know, the great majority (of patients) should get a vaccine, should be safe getting a vaccine, and are afraid to do so. And that is, it's a big worry, because their risk is so great.

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