For many the COVID-19 vaccine is a beacon of hope after a challenging time. Many people are anxious to get the COVID-19 vaccine or are seriously considering receiving it. The question becomes more complex if you have mesothelioma or any other type of cancer.
The decision to have the vaccine is a personal decision for many. If you are a patient with a diagnosis of malignant mesothelioma, it is a decision that should be discussed with your medical team. The vaccine produces an immune reaction in whoever receives it. As we all know, the treatment of malignant mesothelioma is complex, and the optimal time to receive the vaccine for a patient with malignant mesothelioma should be discussed with a medical expert.
One patient that we have recently been seeing is a man in his early 70’s who had a pleurectomy in mid-February. He has been recovering at home and returned for his post-op visit at the one month mark. He asked and was advised by his team that it was okay for him to receive the vaccine. He was qualified and was able to get an appointment the next week. He received the Johnson and Johnson vaccine. When we were talking with him this past week, he expressed one feeling–overwhelming gratitude. He was grateful that he is receiving treatment for his disease and that he was able to be vaccinated.
Every year we learn more about the disease of mesothelioma and how to treat it. Because of the scientific research and foundation that has been laid, the development of the COVID-19 vaccine was able to happen in a short amount of time.
The data has shown that cancer patients are in a high risk category. It has been found that patients receiving immunosuppressive therapy or CAR T cell therapy should delay getting the vaccine at least 3 months after they have completed treatment. Data is still inconclusive as to whether patients getting aggressive chemotherapy should receive these vaccines.
These have been challenging times to say the least this last year. There are currently three different vaccines that are available. In the next few months we hope most Americans will have had the opportunity to become vaccinated and overall this will be a safer place for all. If you are considering getting the vaccine please consult your team, and give yourself some careful consideration during this time. Continue to wear masks, wash your hands and stay out of large crowds and pause a moment to be grateful for all that made the vaccines possible.