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Will chemotherapy limit effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine?


Re: Will chemotherapy limit effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine?

Hello Smeag

Thank you for posting.

It's understandable you feel concerned about the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine especially after needing to go to hospital following chemotherapy. I wonder if the study you read about was the OCTAVE trial. The aim of the study is to find out how well the immune system of people with cancer and chronic illnesses respond to the COVID-19 vaccines.

There is very little data about the breast cancer patients used in this study, so we do not know what stage patients are in their breast cancer treatment. The study also used a variety of vaccines. It appears 10% had lower than normal antibody response with 90% of patients generating normal antibody responses.  The researchers conclude that further studies are now required.

It might help to know the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has notified the NHS that booster vaccines will help maintain protection against COVID-19, and new variants of the virus, for those most at risk. This can be given at the same time as the seasonal flu vaccine.

It may also be possible for you also to have the pneumonia vaccine (if you’ve not already had this).

You could speak to your breast care nurse or chemo team about your concerns regarding the infections you had after chemotherapy. Sometimes the doctor may recommend injections of drugs called growth factors. This helps the body make more white blood cells to reduce your risk of infection. In some cases, they may consider reducing the dose


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Best wishes


Breast Care Nurse

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Will chemotherapy limit effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine?

I am currently having preventative chemotherapy after a Mastectomy in June 2021 and completed two of the four chemotherapy courses recommended for preventing recurrence. I had my two Covid Astra-Zeneca vaccinations in February & April 2021. There is an online news article on the subject at Kings College Hospital NHS Trust, but closed to the public. All information found elsewhere just says insufficient data at present. Are you aware of any research on this subject? I appear to be susceptible to infections, A&E on 1st course & 5 days as in patient on 2nd course, so I am concerned and want to get as much protection as possible. I am aged 69 so I am not as strong as a younger person to fight diseases.