Cancer patients should take the Covid-19 vaccine

25 Nov 2021 04:03pm
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The concern on the safety of vaccines especially among cancer patients has caused many to doubt and refuse the Covid-19 vaccine.

In February, the Health Ministry (MOH) confirmed that cancer patients can take the Covid-19 vaccine once they outline their health status with their doctors.

“Despite so, there is still the misconception that cancer patients do not need to take the vaccine, especially if have to undergo cancer treatment.” Oncology Clinical Consultant specialist at Johor Gleneagles Medini Hospital, Dr Mohd Roslan Haron said cancer patients are more likely to be at risk of getting serious Covid-19 infections as compared to non cancer patients as they generally, have lower immune system and body resistance.

“Therefore, cancer patients should be vaccinated to reduce the probability of getting severe Covid-19 infections if they get infected." He stressed that the vaccine is very crucial especially to cancer patients as well as individuals with comorbidities.

The vaccine that will be administered will enhance their immunization and body resistance as well as reduce the risk of getting stage 3,4 and 5 infections.

Complete the cancer treatment first

For cancer patients who are still undergoing the intensive chemotherapy treatment, they can get vaccinated once they complete their chemotherapy sessions.

"Reason being, if they take the vaccine during the chemotherapy treatment, the body might not be responsive as the body resistance and immune system of a cancer patient is typically low.

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With that, the body cannot contain many antibodies to fight the Covid-19 virus if they are getting the vaccine during chemotherapy treatments.

The vaccine administration for the cancer patients after the chemotherapy treatment depends on the type of cancer treated. For example, for lymphoma cancer, the vaccine administration is usually delayed for three to four months or up to six months in order for the vaccine to work.

For lymphoma cancer, the vaccine administration is usually given after five to six month after the completion of the chemotherapy treatment. It is better if the patients refer to their oncology specialist before they can make the decision on getting the Covid-19 vaccine.

He added claims that the vaccine can cause cancer to worsen is not true. “None of the claims are true. The cancer will not get worse and no side-effects will occur among the cancer patients." Dr Mohd Roslan stressed that the stigma regarding cancer patients being vaccinated against Covid-19 often occurs among those who are not well equipped with the right information.

“Society needs to change their perspectives toward vaccines and cancer patients. They need to get their facts checked through reliable sources and healthcare specialists,” he said.

Cancer and SOP screening

The risk of getting the Covid-19 virus among cancer and non-cancer patients is the same because it's not contributed by internal body factors or the pre-existing diseases of a person. However, it depends on the individual being exposed to the virus.

Not wearing a face-mask, no social distancing or being exposed to crowded public areas and not adhering to the SOP are some of the ways to get infected.

He reminded the public and the cancer patients to always follow the SOP guideline that has been issued by the KKM through national mass media.

He also stressed that the Covid-19 virus will not cause cancer as claimed from several individuals.

However, he suggested that those who are in the high-risk groups of getting cancer need should undergo a cancer screening test for early detection during the pandemic.

“Johor Gleneagles Medini Hospital provides various screen tests as well as high-quality and holistic cancer treatments. It also provides consultations to patients in various aspects regarding cancer such as choice of treatments, side-effects and lifestyle changes, as well as before and after being diagnosed with cancer.