Cancer patients less protected after first dose of Pfizer vaccine

1 min read

Cancer patients – including those with a brain tumour – are less protected against COVID-19 than other people after one dose of the Pfizer vaccine, the first real-world study in this area suggests.

A research team from King's College London and Francis Crick Institute says that with a 12-week wait for the second dose, this could leave them vulnerable. An early second dose appeared to boost cancer patients' protection.

The study, which recruited 205 people, tested volunteers for antibodies and T-cells in their blood, which signals that the immune system can protect against illness from the virus in the future. Following a second dose three weeks after the first, which some cancer patients received, there was a sharp rise in their antibody response against the coronavirus, to 95%. But among those who had to wait longer for their second dose, there was no real improvement in protection.

The study has not yet been reviewed by other scientists and we encourage brain tumour patients undergoing cancer treatment to continue to follow the advice of their clinicians.

Sue Farrington Smith MBE, Chief Executive of Brain Tumour Research, said: “This is a relatively small study but we recognise that its findings could cause worry to cancer patients in the brain tumour community and we will continue to monitor the situation.

“Our strong advice is for all those undergoing cancer treatment to talk to their doctors if they have any concerns. We encourage anyone who is eligible to take up the vaccine and to continue observing all public health measures, even after they’ve been vaccinated.”

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