While individuals with lung cancer are not more susceptible to getting infected with SARS-Cov-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, than others, they may be more likely to experience pulmonary complications because of their underlying lung disease.
People who recover from COVID-19 develop antibodies that provide some protection against reinfection, but it is yet unknown how long this protection lasts after recovery. This is why vaccination is recommended for those who have already been diagnosed with COVID-19. However, according to the Mayo Clinic, those who have already tested positive for COVID-19 should delay vaccination until approximately 90 days after their diagnosis. Furthermore, people should not be vaccinated if they are in quarantine after exposure or if they are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. Be sure to speak with your doctor to see what is right for you.
At this time, patients with lung cancer can be offered vaccination as long as components of that vaccine are not contraindicated with their current treatments. According to the American Society of Clinical Oncology and the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, strategies such as getting the vaccine between cycles of immunosuppressive therapy (such as chemotherapy) can be used to reduce the risks while maintaining the efficacy of vaccination. For patients in active treatment, such as chemotherapy, immunotherapy, or radiation therapy, it is advisable to discuss COVID-19 vaccination with their oncologist. This is because chemotherapy or radiation therapy dampens the immune response and can make the vaccine less effective.
LUNGevity issues regular information updates on COVID-19 to bring the most up-to-the-minute information to the lung cancer community, ensuring that medically vetted and current information is available.
The “COVID-19 and Lung Cancer” section of the LUNGevity website provides invaluable content featuring videos with medical experts, as well as updated FAQs and a COVID-19 glossary. As our understanding of the virus continues to grow, new features are added, including Help with Medications and COVID-19 Policy Initiatives.
The COVID-19 pandemic compelled providers to reimagine care delivery within constrained and overwhelmed healthcare systems, while balancing the safety of patients. During the initial days of the pandemic, and still now to an extent, it has been enormously challenging for patients with lung cancer to seek care. Both LUNGevity and the lung cancer community have learned to be flexible and adaptive during the pandemic and continue to do so as vaccines are approved and distributed.
For more information and frequently asked questions, please visit: LUNGevity.org’s COVID-19 Vaccine FAQs.