Get Vaccinated. Practice Safety.
We know the COVID-19 vaccines are not as effective in some people affected by blood cancers. Studies are underway to better understand vaccine efficacy in the blood cancer population but we know vaccines are safe and effective in the majority of people affected by blood cancers.
We encourage our community to get vaccinated unless their physician instructs otherwise. Even when vaccinated against COVID-19, our community should continue to:
- wear masks
- social distance
- wash their hands
- avoid crowds and poorly ventilated indoor spaces
It is important to maintain these safety measures because the vaccine does not fully protect everyone in our community.
Vaccine Booster Shots
Antibodies play a key role in fighting viruses like COVID-19. According to a study by our US counterpart, LLS, almost 25% of blood cancer patients failed to show antibodies after COVID-19 vaccination.
On September 10, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) recommended that Canadians who are immunocompromised should receive three doses of a mRNA vaccine if not yet immunized, or a 3rd dose of a mRNA vaccine if already vaccinated. Recent studies have shown that a third dose can increase the response for people who had a reduced immune response after two doses.
For this recommendation, immunocompromised includes individuals with the following conditions:
- Active treatment for blood cancer
- Receipt of chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-T cell therapy or hematopoietic stem cell transplant (withing 2 years of transplantation or taking immunosuppression therapy)
- Active treatment with the following categories of immunosuppressive therapies: monoclonal antibodies targeting CD19, CD20, CD22) and high-dose of corticosteroids, other immunosuppressive biologic agents
Some Canadian provinces have approved extra shots of the COVID-19 vaccine in certain cases. The provincial situation is evolving quickly, we encourage you to connect with the LLSC Community Services Manager in your region for the latest information regarding availability of COVID-19 booster shots.
If booster shots are available in your region, speak with your physician before getting an extra dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Booster shots may not be appropriate for everyone.
For more information on the NACI’s recommendations: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/immunization/national-advisory-committee-on-immunization-naci/summary-september-10-2021-additional-dose-covid-19-vaccine-immunocompromised-following-1-2-dose-series.html#a1
Canadian COVID-19 Research Study Recruiting Participants in 4 Sites
The LLSC is working with researchers to help recruit 1404 participants with blood cancers at 4 hospitals for a study to understand vaccine efficacy in the Canadian blood cancer population. The study is now open for patients at the Ottawa Hospital and Princess Margaret Cancer Centre in Toronto. Other sites are being finalized.
If you are interested in participating and would like to determine your eligibility, or to learn more, visit https://omc.ohri.ca/VIP/pages/About.aspx