Since the start of the COVID‑19 coronavirus pandemic, use of the term “immunocompromised” has surged — and for good reason.
Immunocompromised people are at the highest risk of a severe, possibly deadly, COVID‑19 case. This list includes people with cancer, including malignant mesothelioma.
For patients choosing to get vaccinated, getting both shots is crucial.
A report in JAMA Oncology detailed the difference in protection between the first dose and second dose for cancer patients. The analysis focused specifically on solid tumor cancers, such as mesothelioma.
After the first dose, only 29% of people with solid tumor cancer were “seropositive,” meaning they expressed the antibodies needed to fight a COVID infection. By comparison, 84% of all people are seropositive after the first dose.
The second rose increased the protection rate for cancer patients to 86%. This is much closer to the general population’s rate.
This proves the vaccine is effective for mesothelioma patients. It just requires both shots — of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines — to guard against serious illness.
How Mesothelioma Makes COVID Infection Worse
Mesothelioma forms in the lining of the lungs. Advanced cases of this cancer cause respiratory issues, such as difficulty breathing.
COVID‑19 is a respiratory illness. The virus attacks the organs and causes shortness of breath, compounding this mesothelioma symptom.
Additionally, mesothelioma subdues the immune system. Mesothelioma treatment also regulates the immune system. So when COVID‑19 enters the body, the immune system isn’t as prepared to create the necessary antibodies. This is how mesothelioma amplifies COVID‑19.
A vaccine will insert the antibodies for the immune system. This is how the vaccine protects people with mesothelioma and allows them to continue treatment.
Should Mesothelioma Patients Get the Vaccine?
In short, yes. The vaccines are proven safe and effective against preventing serious COVID‑19 illness.
However, we understand some may have reservations about receiving the treatment.
The National Comprehensive Cancer Network urged people with solid tumor cancers (like mesothelioma) to get vaccinated immediately. The only exception is surgery patients, who should schedule their vaccine a few days before or after their surgery date.
We recommend speaking with a medical professional about the safety of the vaccine. There’s a lot of misinformation on the internet about the COVID vaccines. Your primary physician or mesothelioma specialist can answer your questions and offer a recommendation about whether to receive the vaccine. We urge you to trust their knowledge of the science behind the vaccine.
Sources & Author
- Serologic Status and Toxic Effects of the SARS-CoV-2 BNT162b2 Vaccine in Patients Undergoing Treatment for Cancer. JAMA Oncology. Retrieved from: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamaoncology/fullarticle/2781608#coi210040r1. Accessed: 08/05/2021.
- Preliminary Recommendations of the NCCN COVID-19 Vaccination Advisory Committee. National Comprehensive Cancer Network. Retrieve from: https://www.nccn.org/covid-19/pdf/COVID-19_Vaccination_Guidance_V1.0.pdf. Accessed: 02/04/2021.