Should cancer patients get the COVID vaccine? Experts weigh in.

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FILE – In this Jan. 5, 2021, file photo, healthcare worker receives a second Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine shot at Beaumont Health in Southfield, Mich. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)

ST. LOUIS – There are varying arguments for and against cancer patients getting the COVID vaccine. Multiple experts from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Siteman Cancer Center and BJC HealthCare weighed in on the issue in an article on Siteman Cancer Center’s website.

Oncologists and experts said cancer patients who are in active treatment are at a higher risk of having complications if they were to get COVID-19 because their immune system is weakened. The experts recommend cancer patients who have completed their treatment get the vaccine while those who have not completed their treatment should discuss the risks with their oncologist.

The experts also said cancer patients were not included in the large clinical trials of the approved COVID vaccines, but they have been included in the vaccine studies for influenza and pneumonia. Those studies showed the “vaccines offered a degree of protection that warrant their use by cancer patients.

The COVID vaccines do not contain a live virus. they use a synthetic version of messenger RNA, or mRNA. Expects do not recommend cancer patients get a vaccine with a live virus. These vaccines include measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) and the chickenpox vaccine. The flu vaccine also does not contain a live virus and is safe for cancer patients to get.

For more details on the experts recommendations click here.

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