Cancer patients and Covid vaccinations

Cancer patients and Covid vaccinations

I am repeatedly asked by cancer patients whether they should be vaccinated against Covid.The typical concern is, ‘Is it safe for cancer patients who already have a compromised immune system, to have a vaccination?’

First, you have to start with the risk of not being vaccinated. This is a minefield fraught with misinformation. In the UK, the Governments made matters worse by allowing anybody who had tested positive for having had a coronavirus in the previous decade to be deemed to have the disease, even if they were symptomless. Then handing grants to regional authorities based on the number of cases. Nurses I know were told to include anybody who sneezed or had a sore throat in the figures, simply to get higher levels of funding. Then for a year we had ‘rogue death syndrome. A positive test (even if you never had Covid) and death in a car accident, and you were recorded as a Covid death.

Be clear, this was not skeptics or cynics. This was the UK Government in falsifying figures. And then they admitted it and reduce the death period! So now, if you test positive and get killed by a bus within 28 days, you are a death from Covid, but not on day 29.

Despite all this jiggery pokery, this is a serious respiratory and inflammatory illness. Hospitals were ill prepared and overflowing with patients. We have covered it elsewhere, but over 98% of the first wave of deaths were amongst older people with metabolic syndrome. These people were ill.

Typically, the old and infirm die during any flu season. Again we covered this and the numbers of Covid cases in 2020 were just under those of the normal flu season (even counting the false positives) and deaths were 0.03%. A figure confirmed by the CDC.

Talk to most Doctors in the USA and UK and they will tell you that the ‘system’ was ill prepared and at the outset, the recommended treatment – ventilators – was actually counterproductive. Doctors – not their bosses, or their bosses’ bosses or politicians, have now worked out how to best treat Covid, and deaths and time in hospital is falling.

When it comes to cancer, we only really have a modest research study from New York, which again we published (1). Patients with a solid tumour had a death rate of 25%, but this was 37% for a blood cancer. With solid tumours, many cancers were higher - pancreatic cancer (67%), lung cancer (55 colorectal and gynaecological cancers 38% each, but surprisingly breast cancer (20%) and prostate cancer (14%) patients had death rates lower than usual.

So type of cancer may determine your decision.

Next I turn to the American Cancer Society who should know more than me but don’t seem to be any the wiser. Talking about the Pfizer, Moderna and J&J vaccines they say …

All three of these vaccines have been found to significantly lower the risk of being infected with COVID-19. They have also been shown to be very effective at lowering the risk of having severe disease, being hospitalized, or dying from COVID-19 if you are infected.

Be clear, these vaccines are not 100% effective. You can still catch it, give it others, be hospitalised and die, but if you are a heathy person, your chances of this happening are ‘significantly’ reduced (however they define ‘significantly’). If you have cancer, it’s another consideration.

‘Some vaccines for other diseases contain changed versions of the live viruses that cause the diseases. These live viruses don’t cause problems in people with normal immune systems. But they might not be safe for people with weakened immune systems, so live virus vaccines typically are not recommended for cancer patients. However, the COVID-19 vaccines available in the US do not contain these types of live viruses.’

Is that comment really supposed to be helpful?

Another point the ACA make is that none of these vaccines have been through full safety checks –

In an Emergency Use Authorisation, the FDA allows the use of a vaccine or drug during a time of emergency, such as the current COVID-19 pandemic, when the available evidence shows the potential benefits outweigh the potential risks. An EUA is not the same as a full FDA approval, which requires a more thorough review of safety and effectiveness.

As if to back up the point I make above about still be able to catch it and pass Covid on, the ACA add,

it is not yet clear if someone who gets one of the vaccines can still spread the virus to others.

This is still being studied, as are any possible long-term effects of the vaccines.

Researchers are also still trying to determine how long the vaccines will provide protection against the virus.

In the meantime, health experts recommend that when out in public, people who have gotten the vaccine should still wear a mask, continue to practice social distancing and good hand hygiene, and avoid crowds and places with poor air circulation.

So they are actually warning patients as I have been doing, that this is NOT a 100% effective vaccine.

And for young people with cancer, there is no research anyway on under 16s.

So, back to the question, “Should you have the vaccine if you have cancer?” I’d start by getting my vitamin D levels over 100 nmol/L because we have had patients who caught Covid and thanks to the plan they are on, with high vitamin D, they have shrugged it off. I’d improve my microbiome, improve the gut lining and wall (because that’s where 70% of my immune system originates).

But the answer from the ACA is ‘Go and discuss this with your Doctor!

I’m not entirely sure that he knows any more than I do, and I don’t think I’m very helpful at all, because WE JUST DON’T HAVE ANY SCIENCE ON THIS QUESTION.

Go to: Covid and cancer patients research

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