Despite a ‘lagging’ reaction, the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination is safe and effective in cancer patients.

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According to a study published Thursday in JAMA Oncology, the two-dose Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 produces a good immune response and is safe in patients undergoing therapy for specific kinds of cancer.

People with solid tumour malignancies, such as breast, colon, and lung cancer, may have a “lagging” immune response to the vaccination when compared to individuals who do not have the condition, according to the study.

The study did not examine the effects on cancer patients of the Moderna two-dose COVID-19, which has a similar composition. As a result, it is uncertain if it would elicit the same response, but previous research suggests it does.

“Cancer patients with solid tumours do develop antibodies to the vaccine, but this process is lagging compared with the general population, and one dose is not enough,” research co-author Dr. Irit Ben-Aharon told UPI in an email.

“The vaccine appears safe and effective since throughout the study period there were no significant cases of COVID-19 infection in the study population,” said Ben-Aharon, an associate professor of oncology at the Rambam Health Care Campus in Haifa, Israel.

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Still, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine may cause potentially concerning changes in certain liver enzymes in people undergoing chemotherapy and radiation, according to Ben Aharon.

As a result, vaccinated patients should be monitored for these changes as part of their routine care, he and his colleagues said.

The two-dose vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna both use modified genetic material from the coronavirus to stimulate the immune system to create antibodies against it.

According to studies, these antibodies, or cells produced by the immune system to combat viruses, are present in the blood after one dosage of the vaccinations but provide more comprehensive protection after the second.

Both two-dose vaccinations are authorised for use in the United States, and clinical trial findings show that they provide up to 95% protection against severe COVID-19 in people who have been completely vaccinated.

According to Ben-Aharon and his colleagues, clinical studies of the vaccinations have not included a large enough number of cancer patients or those undergoing cancer therapy to assess their efficacy in this population.

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For this study, the Israeli researchers compared antibody responses after vaccination in 232 adults receiving chemotherapy or radiation treatment for cancer with those of 220 healthy adults.

According to the researchers, all of the trial participants received the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccination.

According to the findings, 29 percent of cancer patients had detectable antibodies in their blood after their first dosage, compared to 84 percent of individuals who did not have the condition.

According to the researchers, the antibody response among the cancer participants increased after the second dosage, when 86 percent had measurable levels in their blood. The cancer patients will be monitored for six months to see if their immune response diminishes and a booster dose is required.

According to their results, patients receiving cancer treatment may – and should – receive both doses of the vaccination, according to Ben-Aharon.

 

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